By: Rorie Dunphey
Traditionally, the holiday season is often full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to the array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.
Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them all together: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.
Enjoy the party fare, but don’t graze. Fill your plate with lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Once you have served yourself, move away from the buffet and enjoy the conversation! If you are the host, serve healthy options like whole grain crackers and salsa instead of chips, or fresh fruit and vegetables.
Be mindful of what you eat. Research shows we feel fuller with less food when we eat mindfully. Little unconscious nibbles throughout the day, like a piece of candy from a co-worker, a few ‘tastes’ of the cookies you baked, or those tempting food samples in the grocery store, can add up fast and prevent you from enjoying meal time. Here are tips to help you eat mindfully.
Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly – you’ll also be more aware when you’re feeling full.
Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process as well as inhibit digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.
Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit a longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.
Have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.