Healthy Holiday Tips Yule Love
By Kate Otto, RD, LDN
Bariatric Dietitian at BIDMC
The holidays are upon us, and it’s no secret this time of year makes weight management much more difficult for many of us. Social events, family gatherings, and increased temptations at the workplace are just a few of the common culprits when it comes to winter weight gain.
While it’s not realistic for most of us to swear off all sweets and comfort foods that come along with the season (your dietitians don’t want to be confused with the food police, either!), some careful planning ahead can keep things in check to help us avoid feeling off track later. Even though the holidays only come once a year, they do come every year!
Manage the Workplace
Lots of tempting treats are bound to be brought in, and there’s just something about free food that makes it so much harder to say no. Before you indulge, try pausing and taking a deep breath. Ask yourself, “Is this a food I even like?” “Is it worth it to me?” “How hungry am I on a scale of 1 to 10?” These kinds of questions can help us sift through the indulgences that are worth it to us, like our aunt’s infamous chocolate cake versus a boxed chocolate chip cookie.
If you’re still struggling, perhaps try to avoid the break room by keeping your lunch in a cooler instead. Maybe try brushing your teeth or popping a sugar free mint in your mouth between meals to resist the treats that aren’t worth it to you. When you choose to indulge, do so mindfully. This can help us avoid the guilt we may feel after the fact. Take a seat, turn off the distractions, taste, savor, and enjoy each bite!
Plan Meals Ahead, Save Time Later
A packed to-do list often leads to less trips to the grocery store and more takeout. Consider batch cooking once per week, dust off the slow cooker that’s been stored all summer, or bring healthy snacks with you (like individual bags of dried fruit and nuts, granola bars, or protein bars) to hold you over so you can avoid stopping for fast food while holiday shopping.
Maximize Your Shopping Trips
Increase your steps while crossing off items on your list: Park further away or on the other side of the mall, take a lap before you start your gift search, do calf or knee raises while waiting in line.
Be a Thoughtful Guest
Bring a healthy side dish or dessert with you when you head to a neighbor or family member’s house. Not only will you be helping them out, but you will have confidence knowing there’s at least one dish there that’s healthy and that you can tolerate.
Baking for a crowd? Keep temptations at home at bay by spreading holiday cheer — bring extras to your neighbors or colleagues.
Keep Sight of the Finish Line
Don’t let the holidays get in the way of your goals. Cold weather and lack of daylight make it much more tempting to hit snooze or head straight home after work and skip the gym. Holiday parties and travel can take up our weekends, too. Set a realistic goal for maintaining your workouts — how many times per week is doable right now? Stick with it by rewarding yourself. Think of something that might motivate you — a manicure for your party this weekend or a just-released movie? Treat yourself when you have met your weekly workout goal. Bonus: enjoy the gym before the crowd of New Year’s resolutions hit!
Above content provided by the Weight Loss Surgery Center Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.