Enjoy your time with family and friends without gaining an extra ten pounds from the endless cocktails parties and turkey dinners that mark the holiday season. With so many temptations such as shortbread cookies, butter tarts, chocolates and many other Christmas treats around, many find it all hard to resist.
However, keeping off the extra weight over the holidays can be simple if you plan ahead to make wise choices. By keeping a clear vision of your goal in mind and if you are serious and are determined to stay in shape, making the right choices will be easy. Reminding yourself of the consequences of your choices and of how hard you’ll need to work to burn off the extra calories is a good way to keep things in check. You can allow yourself to indulge a bit but don’t let yourself go over the edge. To succeed, you need to take charge and be responsible.
Listed below are simple actions you can adopt that can help you better prepare for parties and celebrations. By simply eating wisely and keeping yourself active throughout the season, you will be free from the grief and guilt of those unwanted holiday pounds and the extra work required to deal with them in the new year.
Take small bites and share the rest of your food
Who ever said that you always have to eat the whole thing? If you simply cannot resist the temptation of a bready-sweet chocolate croissant or a sticky gooey butter tart, then indulge. However, keep your intake to a few small bites just to satisfy your craving. Besides, it’s usually the first few bites that taste the best anyways! Eat slow and savour each bite. This will let you enjoy your food more fully and also give your brain time to receive the “full” signal from the stomach and prevent you from overeating. Share the rest of it with others. Take the initiative and cut and serve pieces of your dessert for those around you. Not only will this save you from the heavy calories but, it will help you add more to your social gatherings.
Focus on being social
A great way to take your mind off of food is to concentrate on the social aspect of the festivities. Keep moving through the environment and take the opportunity to meet and greet people. Station yourself far away from the food table to avoid temptation, grazing and nervous eating. Make good use of your time by enjoying a laugh and sharing in good conversations. Remember, the holiday season is also about special moments and good times; it’s not just about eating.
Reduce your cocktail calories
Alcohol may add to the holiday festivities, but it also adds a lot of “empty” calories. The best drink to consume is good, old-fashioned water. It is calorie-free, filling, refreshing and rejuvenating. Try it with a twist of a lemon or lime. Non-alcoholic drinks are the ideal choice but if you want to sip on alcohol, reduce the calories by choosing drinks that are mixed with club soda, vegetable juice or mineral water. Another way to keep your calorie intake low would be to alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic. Always try to select the lesser evil. For example, choose wine over rum and egg nog. This will save you the calories and sugar that are responsible for giving you thatunwanted bulge.
Bring a low-calorie dish to your holiday parties
Rather than bringing over a bottle of wine or Christmas cookies to the party, bring a nutritious low-calorie dish instead. This way, you have at least one safe item to eat. Chances are likely that you aren’t the only one who wants to avoid gaining unwanted weight over the holiday season. Others at the party will surely be thankful that you provided this healthy option. This holiday season, give the gift of health and long life.
Continue to exercise during the holidays
It’s easy to get caught up with the hustle and bussle of Christmas shopping and partying and neglect your workouts at the gym entirely. Realistically, however, this is not a time when you want to ditch your workout regimen. With so much going on, it may not be the best time to work for your competitive edge, however, if you simply engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes for 3 or more days a week, you can help maintain your fitness gains from the previous months and prevent yourself from adding more flab to your body. Set aside time to workout first thing in the morning to ensure that you fit exercise into your schedule and don’t find yourself skipping the gym later on in your busy day. If you need some extra motivation, find a buddy or consult with a professional to help you stay on track. Staying active will help to keep your metabolism running high thus helping you become a better fat-burning machine through the holiday’s eating and drinking.
Never go to a party on an empty stomach
Some people like to starve themselves throughout the day and save their appetite for that one big feast on the day of the party – bad move. You will be inclined to eat more and risk losing control. Don’t save your appetite for that one dinner. Make sure you eat breakfast and lunch during the day to avoid your chance of bingeing at the party. Eating fewer meals also forces your body to slow down your metabolic weight and encourages it to store calories as fat.
Pay attention to how much you are eating
A nibble here and there can add up after several hours. It is common for people to consume a full meal’s calories from the appetizers alone! Your safer bet is to sit away from the table of food. Be conscious of how quickly you eat and exactly what you eat and drink. Always pick the healthiest alternative from the food that is available. Fresh, natural and unprocessed foods make the best choices. Many appetizers such as cheese balls, chicken wings, sausage rolls and mini quiches are high in fat and calories. Fill yourself with more nutritious foods like fresh fruits or raw vegetables. When eating meat, choose to eat lean white meat over dark rich choices. Be sure to pick lean meats like chicken or turkey over ham or roast beef. Avoid using heavy sauces which are high in calories. Instead of soaking your food in dips and sauces, have the sauce on the side and dab into it lightly. Choose fruit for dessert instead of cakes, pies, etc. Go for quality, not quantity, of food. Enjoy your food in small portions. Remember that a serving of meat, poultry, or fish is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hands. If you feel you must fill your plate, fill it mostly with vegetables. Try to limit the amount of bread, pasta, potatoes, white rice, sugar, alcohol etc. Take control of your portions by serving your own helping. Don’t pile your plate as high as you can, and try to avoid getting seconds. Don’t forget to stop eating before you are full.
Every month Anna Wong, personal fitness trainer to the stars, will be writing a column for Asiance Magazine. This column is dedicated to your questions and concerns in health and fitness. Your suggestions and requests are welcome. This column is for you so your feedback is important. To contact Anna, email her at email@example.com.
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