7 strategies for keeping unwanted holiday pounds at bay

Hard to believe the holiday season is upon us, isn’t it? If you’re like me, you just spent serious time working off those extra pounds during the September challenge and now SMACK – food temptations are everywhere. I want to eat healthy in the weeks ahead, but I’ve got relatives who can really cook, so I know this will be a challenge.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, the bottom line is: unless you’ve got a plan in place, you’re going to gain 3-5 pounds in the next 8 weeks. Yeah, pretty depressing. So let’s not!

I’ve put together a few tips to help me stay on track and I thought why not share them with you too.

1. Eat before you go

Just as you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you shouldn’t hit the holiday party circuit on one either. But if you head to a party hungry, you are highly likely to consume way more calories than you anticipated. So, do a little legwork in advance. Prepare a mini-meal the night before that can be eaten on the go.

2. Use a smaller plate

This will enable you to walk through the line and inspect the food first. You’ll then choose only the food you REALLY want to eat. (Just be sure you don’t do what I’ve done in the past and fill up a small plate 10 times! Stick to one serving.)

3. Participate better

Bring a dish or two that you know is healthier – there are so many delicious holiday recipes that are quite healthy. For example, make a sweet potato dish and/or a salad. When you’re filling up your small plate, eat your nutrient-rich foods first.

4. Drink water

A great way to limit the number of empty-calorie drinks you have is to alternate between a beverage and a large glass of water. I’m sure you’ve heard that we waste many calories on beverages. More important to me is the quality of ingredients contained in those beverages. They’re not doing your body any good, and I’m not talking only about alcohol here! Do yourself a favor and pour yourself an 8oz glass of water – fizzy or flat, with a lemon or lime, or naked – for every other beverage you drink.

5. Chew your food!

Do you remember learning in elementary school health class you should chew your food at least 32 times per bite? I certainly do, but somewhere along the line I forgot about it. This holiday season, make a point to think about how many times you’re chewing each forkful. (While doing so, think about number six.) This gives our body time to tell our brains that we’re full. The ultimate goal: to not overstuff ourselves. We simply need to feel satisfied.

6. Be grateful

Including for the food you’ve been provided. Think about it. Many all over the world, including in America, struggle to find food each day. Be thankful and show this thanks to those around you. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to implement this!

7. Implement the 80/20 rule

Incorporate it into your food choices. We will go insane if we think we can handle eating good 100% of the time, especially if we’re just starting out. Set a goal for yourself to eat nutritious foods 80% of the time, and spoil yourself, within reason, the other 20%.

The trick here is to be better and implement a few or even one of these ideas. If you try to do all, you may only set yourself up for disappointment. Don’t do it to yourself. My plan this year is to follow numbers 1, 3, 5, and 6.

What is your plan to help you choose your food wisely through this holiday season?