Person A: "Would you like some salted caramel chocolates?"
Person B: "Mmmm, sure....but my gut has been growing from all these goodies lately"
Person A: "It's okay. Enjoy it now and you can lose weight after the holidays"
Person B: "Okay!" (proceeds to eat salted caramel chocolates)
Before you ask, I was neither person A nor B. I was person C, who was strategically silent during the conversation. In my opinion, the "eat now, lose it later" scenario is all too common. And I get it. "Celebrating the season" oftentimes is loosely translated to mean eating a lot! And with this motto, it's very difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
This sums up weight gain/weight loss basics:
Of course, the same is true vice versa. If you eat 500 calories more than you burn, you'll gain 1 lb per week. This is REALLY easy during the holidays because a few chocolates, cookies and candies here and there add up to 500 calories super quickly. Gaining weight does more than make your clothes too tight, it also can increase your risk for high blood pressure, high blood fats (hyperlipidemia), and other chronic diseases, especially if a person is overweight long-term.
So how can we enjoy holiday treats without overdoing it? Here are some simple steps I follow that allow me to enjoy the foods I love without gaining weight.
Holiday Eating Survival Guide:
- Enjoy only those foods that you LOVE.
- Don't "waste calories" by grazing on unhealthy foods you don't even enjoy that much. Only eat treats that you really, reeeally love, and make sure the portion is small.
- Since there will be many temptations once you step outside the home (think: work, parties, friends houses, etc), limit treats lying around the house.
- Think of creative, festive, non-food ways of celebrating the holidays. Take a drive to see Christmas lights, do holiday crafts with your kids, or make Christmas cards to send to family. A little creativity goes a long way here.
- Just because treats are offered doesn't mean you have to eat them. Politely say "that looks great, but no thanks" or something of that nature and you can help avoid holiday overeating.