Stop Overindulging During the Holidays! Here’s How…

By Martin Brown

Having, in the past, over indulged starting at Thanksgiving and continuing through New Year’s Day, I am personally (as probably you are, too) well aware of the high calorie traps awaiting us over the next six weeks.

From turkey with all the trimmings, to the leftovers, the holiday office parties, neighborhood gatherings, special holiday meals with family, Christmas cookies and pies, and one more big feast on New Year’s Day just to end with a bang (or perhaps I should say a thud); there’s just so many ways to go so far off your diet during this time of year.  Which begs the question:

Why do it, when you know what’s coming?

If it were a snowstorm you’d make a plan. Well, this is no different.

You know about the turkey, the stuffing, pumpkin pie(s); so prepare yourself for what’s ahead so that when this tsunami of over indulgence ends you want to have gained  no more than two pounds, not five, or ten.

Here’s my list of six action steps you can take starting today if you have any hope of winning the battle of the holiday bulge and stop over-eating.

1. Before the official start of the season, the big turkey day, get on the scale.
Mark down your weight, and set a goal to not be more than two pounds above that weight come January 2nd.

You may be thinking, why accept any weight gain at all? That’s simple: because it is better to give a little than to just ignore all these added calories, or worse set the unrealistic goal of not gaining an ounce during the holidays. I’m not suggesting you put on two pounds; just give yourself that degree of latitude.

2. There is no more important time of year for exercise.
I don’t care if it’s walking down the block and back, going to the gym, or doing sit ups at home. The best way to address the extra calories that are coming on is to plan on burning some extra calories to balance them out.

3. Make your own list of what you want to eat and what you want to ignore.
For example, save those dessert calories for the really good stuff. Aunt Lucille’s fruitcake is probably not on the list, but if you love that chocolate pecan pie, have a piece and enjoy it totally. It’s the holidays, not a season of fasting, so plan on enjoying those foods that you truly enjoy and do it without the slightest sense of guilt.

4. Portion control wins the big points.
There’s a great deal of difference between one big scoop of stuffing and three. Be very mindful of the portions you consume. Mindless eating is what you are most trying to avoid. Savor the flavors and enjoy all the treats in smaller, more carefully selected portions.

5. Eat smart. Avoid what I call “air calories,” such as bread and biscuits.
They do next to nothing to satisfy your appetite, but they burden you with needless calories. Excessive drinking is the other way to throw on needless calories. Whether it’s too much wine, beer, or simply Coca Cola, it’s not truly satisfying, especially when there are so many really good things to eat.

6. Most of all, enjoy the love and special gatherings of the holidays.
Not everything we do needs to be an indulgence of food, we can also open our hearts to feast on the warm glow of being with family and friends during this very special time of year.

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