A study in 2000 from the New England Journal of Medicine shows that most people gain about .8 lb. during the holiday season. This weight gain may not seem relevant but when the same subjects weighed in a year later, not only had they maintained the holiday gain but they also ended the year 1.4 lbs. heavier. Over a period of 10 years, this adds up to a cumulative weight gain of 14 lbs. Here are 12 ideas that might help you get through the season minus .8 lbs. This list is meant to get your creative juices flowing because the best ideas are the ones you come up with on your own. So write your own or check off the ones on my list that you like and rate your likelihood of success on a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being completely unlikely and 10 being absolutely certain of getting it done. If you score less than 7 on any idea, choose another idea that ranks at least a 7.
- Schedule your bed times like appointments so that you are sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Follow every alcoholic drink that you consume with an 8 oz. glass of water.
- If you lose your willpower for bad foods after drinking alcohol, drink sparkling water instead.
- Eat an apple with one tablespoon of almond butter 30 minutes before leaving for a party or dinner. Or just eat the apple.
- Choose one or two small desserts at a party, eat just 3 small bites of each and find a way to discretely dispose of the remainder. (Remember that chocolate and grapes are toxic for dogs so slipping either to a begging pet is an absolute “no-no”.)
- Get 30 minutes of cardio even if you have to break it up into 10 minute segments. Try marching, walking, climbing stairs or jumping rope. You might even offer to walk a neighbor’s dog if you know that they will be away for a day. Or get on a stationary bike and watch TV.
- Eat slowly by chewing every bite of food 30 to 40 times.
- If you want to eat candy, take half a serving and cut each piece in half. For example, there are 9 pieces of Hershey’s kisses for 200 calories a serving. Take 4 and cut each in half for 8 small pieces at 88 calories.
- Track your food intake. There are many smart phone aps for this or just buy a mini notebook and write your foods down with a pen.
- Plan to eat 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables a day. Start breakfast with frozen berries on your yogurt or cereal and add an orange. Have an apple mid-day and veggie soup or salad for lunch. Start dinner with a cup of veggie soup and you are well on your way.
- Do circuit weight training or cardio interval training and get a session in every other day.
- If it’s safe, get out and do an activity that you usually only do during warmer months. Bundle up and go out for an hour of tennis, biking or a walk on the beach. Invite friends and neighbors to a park for Frisbee, soccer or football. It can really be fun to dress in layers and get out in the chill. Of course, if you have snow, there are many options for fun.
Most are small ideas, but combining two a day for the next 10 days might stave off that .8 lb. And we can all stick with anything for just 10 days, right???
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Years!