Avoid Weight Gain This Holiday Season

In Features, Magazine by RI Magazine

Easy tips so you can expand your memories—not your waistline.

BY SARA-JANE McSHANE

The holiday season is here, which means more time with loved ones, crisp air, sitting by the warm fire in comfy sweaters, and lots of delicious food. But all the comfortable settings—and comfort food that comes with it—can lead to a shocking amount of weight gain. Let’s face it, this time of year we tend to spend more time indoors, eating more delicious foods, and working out a lot less, resulting in an unwanted shift on the scale. With that said, for some, this can bring on a form of seasonal anxiety, and to be honest, that’s just not what the Holidays should be about.

The majority of your time should be spent enjoying loved ones, creating memories, experiencing good times—including good food—and not worrying about the scale. Sound impossible? It’s not! With a few minor lifestyle adjustments, this holiday season can be spent enjoying the important things in life, while not worrying about packing on the pounds. Here’s your four-point plan to avoid weight gain:

Portion Control: It’s not a holidays party without some pie, so have some! The key to enjoying some favorite dishes without guilt is to simply indulge while keeping the portion size under control. Start by having a small slice of your favorite pie (or comfort food). Then stop there, wait about 30 minutes, and see how you feel. The same goes for the main dish. Start small. During the holidays we tend to grab the biggest plate and fill it to maximum capacity. Not this year, you don’t. Cutting portion sizes down allows you to still experience all of your favorite holiday foods while not consuming an unhealthy amount of calories. The main goal is to create a healthy way of eating, not an extreme ritual that will have you yo-yo-ing in the other direction.

Drink More Water: How many times have you heard that? I know, it seems to be the answer for so many things, but it’s true. Consuming more water throughout the day will help your body in the cleansing process and fill you up so you will be less apt to over-indulge. Try having one small glass of water before you eat. This will help get your metabolism moving and assist your liver in its natural detoxing process.

Get Moving! I know this time of year can be super busy and our gym routines take a back seat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. And get out of the mindset of “I only have 20 minutes”; to be honest, that’s all you need to get a good sweat “sesh” on. Movement is key! Whether its walking around the block in the morning with your pup or doing an at-home workout using just your body-weight (we’ve published plenty of these, just check the back issues at RobertIrvineMagazine.com), the possibilities are endless! Here are some fun ways to keep moving this Holiday season: ride your bike, challenge yourself to a push-up contest, rake leaves with family, play outdoor games, trail run, do a Tabata workout and jump rope.

Get Right Back on Track Tomorrow:
It sounds so cliché, but the “I’ll just eat clean tomorrow” phrase is what allows one to live in balance. It makes it so you can have your cake and eat it too, literally! Meaning, you can maintain a healthy weight while experiencing rich foods from time-to-time. Weight gain rears its ugly face when we overindulge several days in a row. But what about the leftovers? Say yes to the protein and veggies. Say no to the mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, and stuffing.

BYOF (Bring Your Own Food): If you’re contributing to a holiday party and bringing a homemade dish, make it a “clean” option that will show your loved ones that they can really enjoy healthy food at this time of year. Some ideas: “Cauliflower mashed potatoes”, “Cauliflower rice”, Pesto veggie dish, a tray of strawberries dipped in organic dark chocolate and my clean chocolate chip cookie recipe (see below) Get creative in the kitchen and whip up some healthier options this season.

Clean Holiday Chocolate
Chip Cookie Recipe:

Ingredients:
3 bananas
1 cup oats
2 tbsp. flax seed
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:
In a medium-sized bowl, mash 3 bananas then add the rest of the ingredients listed above. Mix well. Cover an 8×8 baking pan with tin foil. Spray with coconut non-stick spray. Place dough on the baking pan, then flatten out the dough with a spatula to ensure a level dough. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 15 minutes. You may need to cook for 17 minutes depending on the oven but check at the 15-minute mark.
You can make into cookie shapes and cook for the same amount of time and add in a protein powder (Fit Crunch) to up the protein content.

Makes 12 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 101 calories, 3.4g fat, 2.3 fiber, 7.8 sugars, 2g

Holiday Plate Quick Tips:
• Fill your plate with more lean protein and veggies
• Use a smaller plate (this doesn’t mean stacking your food higher)
• Save the “unhealthy” stuff for your plate at the end (after you’ve eaten the healthier stuff)

Follow fitness author SJ McShane on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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