5 Tips for avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Before eating clean became a part of my lifestyle, the holidays were always a challenge when it came to sticking to my goals. I would commonly make the mistake of having a cheat meal and proceeding to miss meals for the rest of the day because of the extra calories I’d consumed. I thought that this poor eating pattern would prevent me from gaining weight. I now see the error in my ways and acknowledge that, by missing meals, I was actually slowing down my metabolism.
I believe it’s important to realize that no one is completely “on” one hundred percent of the time, nor should they be. It is important to find a healthy moderation in order to be happy with your body and enjoy life. It’s all about balance. The holidays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends, while enjoying a few extra cheat meals. With that being said, I believe you need to go into the holidays with a plan.
Studies show that the average person gains between seven to ten pounds during the holidays. I certainly don’t like to make my New Year’s resolutions all about losing weight. I like to focus on other areas of my life rather than be depressed about bad eating decisions I made during the holidays. Here are a few tips to keep your goals in check while enjoying the season.
Tip #1: When you know you have a holiday party to attend, eat a balanced meal prior.
As a rule, I eat a meal every three hours, five to seven times per day. That’s just the best way I’ve found to keep my metabolism and energy levels high. When I have an event to attend, I schedule my meals appropriately throughout the day and usually try to eat a meal within an hour prior to attending the event. Each meal consists of a lean protein, complex carbohydrate, and vegetable. That way, I’m not starving once I arrive and I’m less likely to binge eat or fill up on available party snacks. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the snacks being served at the party, but I have prepared myself early in the day by fueling my body with healthy meals. After the party, I have another healthy meal and continue my day or evening as usual.
Tip #2: Work out one extra day during the week.
I typically stick to a workout schedule of four days a week, year round. In order to avoid over training, each workout lasts 45-60 minutes. During the holidays, I make it a point to work out one extra day each week, whether it be an extra day of lifting weights, a group exercise class, or just an extra cardio session. I believe this allows me to burn extra calories from holiday parties, while staying on track with my goals. Exercise releases endorphins, which also keeps me in a good mood.
Tip #3: Pack snacks for holiday shopping trips.
This tip is key to staying on track with your meals and weight loss goals during the holidays. There is nothing worse than feeling hungry while stuck in holiday shopping traffic. Before a shopping trip, I plan some convenient snacks ahead of time that I can keep in my purse or car for easy access. I might decide to make homemade protein muffins, bite-size turkey meatballs, or even take a protein shake with me. Always plan ahead and keep snacks nearby in order to keep your energy levels high for long days of shopping.
Tip # 4: Stay hydrated.
Keep a bottle of water with you at all times to stay hydrated and keep hunger at bay. Even if you keep your meals consistent, your body can mistake thirst for hunger if you are not drinking adequate levels of water. If you are feeling dehydrated while running errands, take the time to stop and rehydrate. The average sedentary adult should consume about 2.2 to 3.0 liters of water, which equals about 75 – 101 ounces. This is approximately 9 to 13 cups per day. An athlete who participates in a workout program should drink about 8 additional ounces per 25 pounds of body weight, around 128 ounces.
Tip #5: Sneak a healthy dish into a holiday party.
This is something I’ll be faced with next weekend. My husband and I are attending a holiday party with family. We asked the hostess for the menu but, unfortunately, there were not many items that we particularly cared to eat. No problem- make your own dish! Just prepare a healthy dish to take along and put on the table with the other dishes. Problem solved. We are making extra-lean zesty turkey meatballs. If you make them finger-food sized, they are easy to pick up and snack on while visiting with others. Healthy, sneaky, and simple to make.
Kelsey Byers’ Zesty Lean Turkey Meatballs- Recipe:
Preheat oven to 375°.
You will need the following ingredients:
• 3 packages of extra lean turkey
• 2/3 cup of oatmeal
• Your favorite salt-free seasonings (I use three different seasonings, one cap full of each), Hidden valley ranch dip powder packet, McCormick’s original taco seasoning mix (choose from original, medium or spicy)
• Optional: diced jalapenos, bell peppers or onions for extra flavor.
Mix all ingredients together and pat into palm-sized meatballs. Place meatballs on lightly sprayed cooking sheet. Cook at 375° for about 30 to 40 minutes. Slice open a meatball to see if it is cooked thoroughly. I prefer eating my meatballs with spicy mustard and a splash of hot sauce- perfect for party finger foods and dipping.
About the columnist:
Kelsey Byers is the author of Eat Clean and Follow Your Dreams, available on Amazon.com. She has a fifty pound weight-loss success story and inspires thousands of people daily through social networking. She prides herself in offering helpful tips on nutrition and exercise to help others make healthy lifestyle changes, just as she’s done. Kelsey is a certified NASM personal trainer and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor.