How to Maintain Weight During the Christmas Season

How to Maintain Weight During the Christmas Season

Eating Heartily but Mindfully During the Christmas Season

During the Christmas season, bikinis are a distant memory and warm, baggy clothes are in.  Sweaters, long johns, scarves and boots reshape what goes for shapely. Indulgence in the many foods featured at Christmas isn’t as likely to produce the same feelings of guilt. All the same, its not a great thing to start the New Year carrying a few extra pounds. So why then eat yourself into yet another resolution to take off a few extra pounds if you can deftly avoid it?

Whether it’s sharing holiday treats at work or having an evening out at a dinner party, you can have your favorite Christmas food and enjoy it.  While you seem to be chowing down heartily with a smile, the key strategy is to exercise moderation. It involves sticking to a budgeted eating plan.  A budgeted eating plan is not about the cost of what is eaten, but about the quantity of what is eaten.  This is not unlike the Weight Watcher’s point system. It is important that a moderated eating budget is developed because it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to a lot of cookies, candies and other sweets at Christmas.

At work, you may seem like Ebeneezer Scrooge if your response will always be, ‘Bah, Humbug’ whenever some Christmas goodies are offered. It will seem as if you aren’t in the holiday spirit; particularly since  everyone is usually in a festive and more relaxed mood, and the pace at work is usually slower at this time of year.

A clever way to partake in Christmas goodies, for example, is to substitute some Christmas cookies for a bagel that you might have with breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. Also, instead of just taking one cookie from the platter (which is noticeable and likely will encourage a colleague to tell you to have more) take three instead. That’s where the plan can come into play. You can then nibble at the cookies over two or more hours, because nobody will be watching how you really eat. You can always have a few candies, one cookie or a cookie and a half by your desk and that way it will seem as if you are heartily enjoying the holiday treats.

However, the proximity to such tasty treats can lead to temptation.  Should you indulge, you will need to find a way to burn off the extra holiday calories.  If weather permits, taking a walk at lunchtime can help to burn those calories and excuse you from some of the jolly peer pressure to further indulge.  If the weather is not conducive to taking a walk and you work in a building with stairs, put on your ear buds and rock some Christmas music while you get a quick cardio workout.  I would recommend at least one song for every extra cookie.  If you need to run a whole album on the steps, you should probably forego the idea of nursing treats at your desk as a stealth, health technique.

Another tactic is to bring low calorie Christmas cookies and candies that you’ve bought or made yourself to counteract others that are being offered at work or parties. Since eating healthy is the best approach, health-conscious cookies will not be frowned upon as long as they taste great.  My wife has a recipe for zucchini cookies that are always a hit with visitors. For instance, a box of sugar-free Christmas chocolate candies will look just as delightful as their more fattening counterparts.  Here is an interesting resource with some Guilt Free Chocolate Recipes that you might be interested in at Christmastime or any time you need a chocolaty treat without all of the calories. It’s no surprise that in a 2004 poll sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, chocolate was the favorite edible holiday gift among Americans surveyed. Sadly, fruit cake was last on the list.  Frankly, I love fruit cake but my wife would simply say that you are what you eat. According to the Association, the second favorite holiday food gift was a fruit basket and a plate of cookies took third place.

For an occasion such as a Christmas party or a dinner, particularly the family Christmas Dinner, where larger quantities and selections of food are available, the budgeted eating plan will be a means to control serving portions and to select the healthier choices of food. At an event where more desserts and sweets are likely to be on hand, a few of the options can be sampled and eaten slowly to present an apparently full plate as you mingle. If you cannot resist the urge to try everything, then stack your plate with one of each and don’t go back for seconds unless you can pass off an item or two. The same is basically true of Christmas Dinner. The main difference is that the food served during Christmas Dinner will be heavier. Select your portions wisely and you can enjoy all of the flavors of Christmas without winding up with Santa’s belly.  If you stick to your budget at a sumptuous Holiday Dinner, your stomach will be full from the wonderful food and your soul will be full of joy from sharing another memorable holiday with family, friends and loved ones.

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