Tips to prevent holiday weight gain
By Wendy M. Henrichs
Board Certified Chiropractic Pediatrician and Nutrition Counselor
The holidays are almost here and so is the challenge of not packing on holiday pounds. With the parties, travelling, and all of that yummy temptation, how does anyone not put on at least a few pounds? The CDC states that about 40% of Americans are obese. Ouch! Here are strategies you can do to prevent packing on the pounds this holiday season. For the most part you know our holiday party schedule in advance. This includes Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can do a few simple things leading up to holiday season to combat those holiday pounds.
Detoxify Your Body
A week or two before holiday season consider doing a 10-day detox. We are exposed to 700 or more different toxins daily. Toxicity in your body has a multitude of negative effects in the way your body functions and feels. It can also contribute to weight gain or the inability to maintain a healthy weight.
Eat 1/3 less the week before your party
This has worked for me over the years. When I know of a holiday party, I am conscious of eating less the week before. What does that mean? Stick with lots of steamed veggies and protein combined with healthy fats. Skip the starch the week before. I strive for four to six small meals daily (salad plate size). Eat protein and veggies with every meal and snack. Here is a portion guide:
Palm = Proteins. Make protein portions the size of your palm. Protein is found in animal products, like fish, chicken, beef, pork, wild game, eggs and cheese. Some veggie protein sources include legumes (beans, etc.), tofu, tempeh and quinoa.
Thumb = Fats. Fats are important, but they’re also very dense, so match fat portions to the size of your thumb. Good fat sources are avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
Fist = Fruits, Grains, etc. Your bread, fruit, cereal, rice and grain portions should be about equal to the size of your closed fist. Remember that it’s always preferable to consume non-GMO, organic whole grains.
Hand = Veggies. Open your hand and spread your fingers as wide as you can. That’s a good vegetable portion. Raw vegetables are loaded with fiber and nutrients, and they contain very few calories. Steamed al dente is great too, especially in the winter. Remember adding 1-2 cups of steamed greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard.
Drink more water
We should be drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs. you should be drinking about 70 ounces of water daily. Through the holidays, drink a glass or two more. Have a glass of water 30 minutes before you eat to fill your tummy. No water with your meal as it dilutes your digestive juices. Start drinking water again about an hour after your meal.
A little exercise everyday goes a long way. Strive for 150 minutes each week and especially over the holidays. That is only 30 minutes, five days of the week. If you don’t have time for a full workout, a few things you can do to move more are to park at the end of the parking isle at the store; walk a couple of times around the block at lunch; take 10 deep breaths; and stand up and sit all the way down in your chair 30 times (3 sets of 10). Exercise increases your metabolism, helps lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress hormone Cortisol (remember Cortisol makes us FAT), removes toxins and improves circulation, among other benefits.
Hold yourself accountable
Enlist the help of someone whether a friend or relative. Committing to exercise with someone increases the likelihood of doing it. You can also join a class at one of the health clubs or hire a personal trainer. Writing down what you eat or using a smart phone app will also hold you accountable to making healthier choices.
Party Day Tips
Eat breakfast – A breakfast with protein and good fats will keep you satisfied. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism which will help you burn those extra party calories. An omelet or scrambled eggs with chopped peppers, green onion, spinach or kale, black beans, and salsa is an easy option.
Drink water – You can’t drink too much. Add some lemon or lime slices, fresh mint and cucumber to add some flavor. Start drinking water first thing in the morning and drink 8 ounces every hour including while at the party. Water will fill you up and help your body process the holiday food and drink. Water also increases your metabolism.
Get moving – Exercise boosts your metabolism, so you’ll be burning more of those holiday calories for a few hours after you exercise. Take a morning walk, do a holiday 5K walk/run, do yoga or lift weights. It doesn’t matter what you do, just GET MOVING.
Scale down your plate – Choose the smallest plate there is at the party, teacup size if available. Some protein and veggies is a better choice than crackers, chips and dips. Even if you go back for more you will still be eating less with the smaller plates. The water that you drank earlier and when you arrived has your tummy already full. This applies to all of the pre-dinner noshing on Thanksgiving and Christmas as well.
Enjoy the party – Have fun and enjoy the holidays as we have enough stress in our lives.
The holiday season is about enjoying your family and loved ones and being thankful for all of the blessings in your life. Use these tips to avoid packing on the pounds during this time of celebration.
Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit TimberlandChiropractic.com, Facebook, or call 715-362-4852.