It’s the Christmas holidays once again. Like most people this time of the year, you’re probably going hither and tither, attending gatherings and social events and grazing your way through all the fruitcake, apple pies, eggnogs, and other Yuletide goodies without much thought about the weight-related consequences of overeating. Some folks are probably a little ahead of you, having already formulated a detailed plan on how to win the post-holiday battle of the bulge with a combination of workout routines and diet plans.
But even with Christmas Eve just around the corner, did you know that you could still successfully keep your weight in check? Read this short guide about simple lifestyle tweaks that you can implement to help you realize this goal during the holidays.
Eat holiday foods in small portions
Take it easy on the sugary, fatty, and salty food items. One great advice is for you to eat them in small portions so that you can enjoy as many food items without overeating. Also skip on stuff that you can have anytime. For instance, instead of eating pizza and chocolate, why not enjoy the Christmas turkey and some of your mom’s special pudding instead?
Eat healthy in between calorie-rich meals
You can cut back on the calories by eating healthy in between special meals or gatherings, when the calorie-rich food items are usually served. One great option is to prepare Mediterranean-style food more often. And we’re not taking about big servings of pasta here. Instead of heaps of spaghetti and rigatoni, authentic Mediterranean fare is rich in vegetables, lean meat, oily fish (rich in omega 3), whole grains (rich in fiber), lentils and beans (rich in protein), and healthy sources of fat like olive oil.
Brisk walk in the mornings
If you don’t feel like working out as if you’re preparing for a triathlon, simply being active every day will suffice to help balance out those extra calories. The best way to do it? Take brisk walks in the mornings, just before breakfast. Studies have shown that exposure to early morning sun reduces people’s risk of weight gain. The reason is not yet clear, but it is possible that exposure to the sun optimizes the body’s metabolic processes. Furthermore, exercising in a fasted condition can help your body burn the energy that it has already stored instead of acquiring it from the food you’ve just eaten.
Eat oatmeal and eggs for breakfast
One good way to satiate your sweet tooth this holiday season and throughout the year is by having oatmeal for breakfast. Make sure to have the plain, unflavored variant, which you can then liven up cinnamon and with fruits like bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. Oatmeal helps reduce your cholesterol levels, and this fiber-rich breakfast staple also feeds the beneficial bacterial flora in your gut, thus helping keep your digestive system healthy.
In addition to oatmeal, it’s also advisable to eat eggs for breakfast.It’s really one of the most nutritious food items available. It’s packed with vitamin A, folic acid, phosphorus, selenium, B vitamins, choline (good for building cell membranes), as well as lutein and zeaxanthin (both good for the eyes). Furthermore, it is rich in protein and amino acids—the human body’s basic building blocks.
Don’t deprive yourself of food items that bring pleasure to your taste buds, but do eat them mindfully. Just because they’re around in a party or gathering doesn’t mean you have to eat them. Choose only the treats that you really like, and eat them slowly, savoring every bite down to the last morsels.
Plan in advance
The key to maintaining healthy weight is not overeating. Aside from watching your portion sizes, planning ahead can also help curb excessive food consumption. Are you going to a big holiday dinner with your friends later in the evening? Then eat a lighter breakfast and lunch. Are there too many food items to choose from in a buffet? Select only the ones that you think you really want. Do you have too many candies and other treats? Don’t just leave them lying around in your home, or you’ll be tempted to snack on them all day long. Keep them in a jar, or give them away.
Get professional help
If you think that you need assistance from a nutritionist, a doctor, or a sports scientist to make weight loss possible, then by all means, ask for help. Medical professionals can evaluate your health by letting you take tests that measure your blood sugar and cholesterol, for instance, or they may also have some recommendations regarding appropriate meal plans and exercise routines that you can follow.
If it is determined that you have existing health conditions that affect your weight loss endeavors, these professionals can also recommend more specialized courses of action to take. For instance, if you have an existing hormonal imbalance, an endocrine specialist may recommend bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
There’s no magic pill for instant weight loss, but you can make healthy choices that will eventually let you see the numbers in the weighing scale drop. Believe it or not, it is possible, even during this holiday season.