Here are some tips that can help you get through the season without putting on weight:
1) Know what types of foods will be there and what you will choose to eat.
Let's face it--in general you know what types of foods are on the holiday dinner table. Decide ahead of time which foods are important to you and which you could do without. Choose your favorites but pass on those that are not special to you.
2) Don't tell people you're "eating healthy this holiday season."
There's no need to bring attention to your food choices. People will feel that you are not enjoying yourself or that they should feel guilty about what they are eating. Your host (especially your mom) will be disappointed if you're not sampling all that she labored over in the kitchen. You're more likely to have success if you keep it low-key.
3) Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits and lower-fat fare.
Start your eating with these foods and than eat your favorites. This way you won't be so hungry for the calorie-dense foods. Besides, your relatives and the people around you are only going to draw attention to your food choices if you have an empty plate or are picking at food. This way, you are eating, your plate is full and you're enjoying the foods you've chosen. No one should feel sorry for you, including you.
4) It's OK to say no.
You don't need to pick at every gift basket that's left at your desk or eat your way through the holiday buffets. Choose wisely and carefully.
5) Cut back on the nibbling.
If you're cooking, try not to nibble throughout the day. All those little bites add up.
6) Try some new lighter recipes.
Use high quality, fresh ingredients and the foods will taste great. You just don't want to tell your guests that they're lighter until after they've already enjoyed it. We're predetermined to think that healthy food can't be good.
7) Offer to bring a dish.
Bring something that you know you can fill up on without the guilt.
8) Moderate your drinking at the holidays.
Alcohol often leads to the worst choices. Alcohol will slow down your metabolism and your good judgment. Try a wine spritzer instead of champagne. Or just try to limit yourself so you can enjoy your holiday.
9) Have a healthy snack before you go to a holiday meal.
Don't go to a party on an empty stomach. When you get to the party and you're already satisfied, you're less likely to eat as a reaction to hunger.
10) Get your exercise.
Take a walk before or after the holiday meals to get your metabolism going. When you take care of yourself regularly with exercise, your desire for unhealthy foods tends to decrease.
11) If at first you don't succeed, don't throw in the towel.
Most of us tend to eat out of control after we give in to that initial temptation. Don't assume that because you ate a piece of cake you have to try every type of pie on the table. Accept your choice and than move on.
Overall, remember the meaning of the holidays and that they can be enjoyed without indulging in mass quantities of food. Make sure to focus on the meals you can control. Get plenty of nourishing foods throughout the holiday season to make up for some of the not so good choices at parties. The key to overall health is to eat healthy overall. A few meals with less than healthy choices will not lead to your downfall. This year, focus on giving and not what you're taking in.
Lisa Druxman, M.A., the creator of Stroller Strides, is a nationally recognized speaker, author and highly regarded expert in the field of pre/postnatal fitness.
Stroller Strides is a total fitness program for new moms that they can do with their babies. It includes power walking and intervals of body toning, using exercise tubing and the stroller. Taught by trained instructors, it's a great workout for any level of fitness. For information on classes or franchising, visit www.strollerstrides.com or call 866-348-4666.