Halloween and Thanksgiving are behind us. The season of Christmas parties is upon us. These are the eating holidays. Now is the time to reign-in our eating habits so we will have less weight to shed in the New Year. A few smart eating will make a huge difference in the waistline. Consider these easy activities:
- Know where you stand. Remove your shoes, close your eyes, and step on the scale. Now, take a look. On a piece of paper write down your weight and then write down your “goal weight.” Tape this to the refrigerator. Knowing your current weight will help to positively influence food choices and move you closer to your goal. If you are within a few pounds of your goal weight, good for you! Keep it up. Just don’t get down on yourself if you’re not losing as quickly as you’d like. Weight loss takes time; just keep your goal in mind (and taped to the refrigerator door).
- Exercise now. Yes, schedules get more crowded during the holidays, but you can find the time for exercise if you choose to put health in your schedule. There are 168 hours in a week: Dedicate 3 hours a week for exercise. Re-activate that gym membership. Use the Wii Fit purchased last Christmas. Walk with your family or a friend, or while your child is at sports practice. Set the alarm clock for a half-hour earlier and dust-off exercise DVDs. Park at the back of the parking lot at work, the supermarket, and shopping mall. Simply, move more.
- Portion control. Replace dinner plates with salad plates whenever you can and load up on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Use a bed of salad greens to line your plate, which helps you to consume more leafy green vegetables, and less fatty, calorie-dense foods. Not arriving ravenous to holiday parties makes it easier for better food choices, so eat before you go.
- Don’t drink your calories. Alcohol hides many calories in a small package. Juices and mixers are full of sugar. Scale back on the size of a drink to reduce calories. Coffee beverages with gingerbread, eggnog, and peppermint add fat that show up on the waistline. Opt for sugar-free additives to your coffee. Drink more water—it’s filling, healthy, and calorie-free.
Finally, enjoy the holidays! Food is communal and an expression of love. By following these easy steps before the holidays, you will create less guilt and less weight during and after the holiday season.
Sylvia E. Morris, MD, MPH, is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and holistic medicine. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she speaks at many community forums and delivers health awareness presentations. Tell her what you think on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.