By Monique Costello, TASTE Culinary Instructor at Kendall College
Holiday bulge… hype or reality? It’s been written over and over again that the average weight gain between Halloween and New Years is between 7 and 15lbs. That would explain why so many New Year’s resolutions involve dieting, why every gym is packed during the month of January and why celery crunching can be heard on every street corner.
Whether it’s 1 pound or 15 pounds, it comes with negative health impact. Stress, lack of sleep, extra sweet treats and alcohol all take their toll and sets us up for a complete departure from our health goals.
Incorporating a few of bulge-busting strategies through the holidays can help you manage your goals more effectively. It’s always easier to maintain a program, even if it dips a little, then to start from scratch.
Instill the two bite rule – Let go of the idea that you have to totally deprive yourself this season and let your yourself have two bites of the dishes you most want. This works on a couple of different levels: First, you don’t have to feel the stress of disappointing Aunt Mae, who brought her award-winning pie. Go ahead, have the pie! But stop at two bites. Don’t rush through it; really savor those two bites and don’t feel guilty for it at all. Then gush over it! Tell Aunt Mae how amazing it was, but that you are so full you can’t eat another bite or that you are saving it for later. Whatever you say doesn’t matter at that point because you satisfied your taste, didn’t blow your health goals (second level of how this strategy works) and you didn’t disappoint Aunt Mae (bonus third level of how the rule works). This strategy works in every situation, from office snacks to holiday buffets to client dinners.
Probiotics – If you aren’t currently taking probiotics, start today. Probiotics feed the good bugs and help repopulate your inner ecosystem helping proper digestions and detoxification, boost our immune system and help with weight management. Skip the pill and eat fermented foods for an easy, yummy way to help curb sugar cravings. Find both options in the refrigerator section of your grocery store.
Pre-eat – Before you head out to a party, sit down and have a small meal or snack that is comprised of healthy fats, protein and complex carbs. Eating a proper, balanced meal helps to maintain blood sugar and should help deter you from overeating at the buffet table.
Set down your drink – A lot of holiday parties involve standing and mingling, which leaves you holding your drink the whole night. Holding onto a drink at all times puts it in direct pathway to your mouth… frequently. You will drink more when you carry a drink around with you versus setting it down once in a while. Find a spot and set it down, you might be surprised but it actually frees you up to socialize more.
Set your fork down between bites – Similar to the setting your drink down, when you set your fork down between bites you eat slower and are more mindful. When we have a fork in our hands it’s easy to quickly shove more food into our mouth before we’re done chewing and swallowing what is already there. This will help you chew your food more thoroughly and slow down your pace, allowing you to also recognize when you are full before you overeat.
Bring on the H20 – Drinking more water actually gives the body more energy and helps your skin look great. When you wake up in the morning drink two glasses of water before anything else. When it comes to alcohol, go ahead and imbibe. But make the effort to drink a glass of water between each drink. Again, rather than deprive yourself, simply crowd out one drink or two with water. This will help you stay hydrated and allow for better sleep and an easier morning.
Up Your Workouts – Now is not the time to skip a workout. Either add in an additional session, stay on the treadmill for an extra 5 minutes or add in more reps to help combat holiday goodies.
Intermittent fasting– Strive to not eat for a period of 12 hours per day. It’s much simpler than it sounds when you do this overnight, which usually means skipping the late night snacks. Start with an 8 or 9-hour time frame from the time of your last meal to your next meal in the morning. Work to increase the time as you become more used to it or try fasting for one day out of the week, like every Monday. Make it a day of light juices and smoothies to give your system a good opportunity to rest and repair.
Overall, look at the holidays as a time to ‘strengthen’ your current routines rather than end them and you’ll come out much healthier and happier on the other side.
2018 is a new year for a new you! Join me at Kendall College for one of my healthy cooking boot camps or detox recipe classes this January. Give the gift of clean eating this holiday season and buy your loved ones a TASTE gift card off our website.