At this wonderful time of the year many of us worry about weight gain because of all the extra calories that we may be eating and drinking. Almost all our Holiday traditions and gatherings center around food. Of course we want to enjoy all the festivities with our families and friends. Unfortunately, the average American gains 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! That’s an extra 17,500 calories that you have to burn to take that Holiday weight gain off! Instead, this season try to avoid gaining weight altogether. You can do this by adding in some extra exercise and by making better food choices, here are some tips to keep that extra weight off.

Stick to your workouts, no matter what

Even if it means getting up earlier in the morning to fit in some extra cardio, get it done. These are busy times, prioritize your workouts just like you would any other important appointment.

Eat protein

Protein is the best way to stabilize your blood sugar, prevent hunger pangs and avoid fat storage. Protein makes you feel fuller, longer and ensures that you don’t fall into the starvation mode of “ I’m so hungry, I’ll eat anything”.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol contains empty calories and even more importantly slows down fat burning. As I explain in my book; Eat More To Lose More, alcohol must be metabolized by the liver, immediately. While your liver is busy dealing with the alcohol, other metabolic processes are halted. At parties, limit yourself to one drink and sip slowly. After a drink or glass of wine, make sure you have a full glass of water to avoid dehydration, which leads to that dreaded headache. If you must drink, wine is the best choice. Mixed drinks made with sugary mixers or fruit juices are the worst.

Plan your food and keep a food diary

Today’s technology allows us to keep a food log on any of the Apps available. I like the Fooducate App. If you know you will be having a try of the pecan pie, include it in your calorie count, and keep the serving size reasonable. Don’t kid yourself! Instead, plan for the occasional treat by including it in your total calories. Make up for it by working out a little extra or eating super clean the next day.

Never go to parties hungry

Eat a small healthy snack at home before going out to avoid over-eating at parties. Never starve yourself all day because you know you will be going to a party that involves food. Instead, make sure to eat light, small meals throughout the day to prevent overeating unhealthy party food later.

Carry a snack when you run errands or shop

Inevitably you will get hungry while you are out running errands. Getting things done during the Holidays take longer than usual, as traffic gets hectic and malls fill to the brim. Carry a healthy snack with you to avoid having to buy something you don’t want to eat, or worse yet, not eat at all, thereby stimulating fat storage.

By following these simple tips you can maintain your weight and mental well being through the holidays and start the New Year off just right!

Unni Greene
C.M.T., C.S.N.S.