Healthy, Fit & Fabulous: Keep Your Shape in Check During the Holidays
The holidays are here, bringing with them the opportunity to imbibe like crazy, eat indulgent goodies and dance the night away rather than get our healthy eight hours of zzzs. Ahhh, the joys of the season! Life is short—why not enjoy it? Yet there’s nothing worse than weighing yourself come January 2, only to discover that Santa left you a few extra pounds at the Hanukkah bush. The good news is, that extra poundage is not inevitable. With a little bit of forethought and a few tricks here and there, there’s no reason to deprive yourself of a few treats and epic nights to remember.
Savor Every Bit
Carpe noctem! Enjoy the spread—but eat and drink slowly to allow yourself to enjoy every single taste on your plate. It takes approximately 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full, so if you eat slowly, you will feel fuller and won’t want to finish your plate. Plus, when you eat more slowly, you’ll chew your food more thoroughly, which leads to better digestion.
Just Say Yes
Don’t deny yourself your favorites! The more you hold back from your favorite Christmas fudge or cookies, the more likely you are to continue thinking about it and ultimately binge. The key is to be selective and make each indulgence count. If you’re craving pie, have it—but don’t eat cookies just because they’re in front of you. Chances are you’ll fill up on stuff you don’t like AND eat your favorite when it pops up in front of you. You’ll end up rolling home with a few extra pounds if you indulge in mediocre choices.
Don’t Leave Home With An Empty Stomach
Have light snacks before you go out for the evening or to holiday parties. Enjoy a little bit of soup or Greek yogurt with fruit beforehand—that way you won’t find yourself grazing at the buffet table all night. Tres tacky!
Hydrate, Hydrate and Re-hydrate!
Filling up with water not only boosts your metabolism, it makes you eat less and helps prevent a hangover. Have a glass before you leave your house, and if you’re drinking all night, have a glass of water between each drink. If you overindulge in martinis, make sure to stock up on Pedialyte and Gatorade to replenish your electrolytes.
Grab a small plate when you hit the buffet. A bread plate is dainty and cuter to hold, and also slows you down on stuffing yourself with hors d’oeuvres. Plus, you won’t feel super cool refilling the plate 10 times, so that will help you keep yourself in check.
Peruse the Healthy Options
Start at the veggie tray first and load up on green, colorful goods and fruit. Trainer and Fitness Expert Bing Dinh of Body Mind Architects (www.BodyMindArchitects.com), reminds us of the importance of getting a strong dose of protein as well. “Making protein and veggies your first stop at the buffet table will keep your muscles growing, which increases your metabolism,” he says. “It takes more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it does fat. Besides, if you’re training hard it defeats the purpose if you don’t feed your muscles with protein—holidays or no holidays.”
As tempting as it is to go straight for the high-caloric, fatty foods, help yourself to low-fat, nutrient-rich foods first, such as fruit, veggie platters, beans and any form of protein. It will help you eat less of the unhealthy stuff—plus when you do, you’ll eat them more for their flavor than to satisfy your hunger.
Keep it Moving
I personally work out every Christmas morning. It helps alleviate some of the guilt, gives me some alone time before the storm, and energizes me for all the cooking! “Get an intense workout in as early as you can on Christmas morning, so you have time to connect and be thankful for all the good things in your life,” says Bing. “Not only it will metabolize all the food you will be consuming, but it will put you at ease, and in a good mood to enjoy your loved ones.”
Keep it Clear
Really pay attention to what you drink. It’s pretty hard to pass up the bubbly—but try to stay away from all the creamy drinks and fancy chocolate martinis. Two mixed drinks can contain as much as 500 calories and one cup of eggnog is around 380 calories. Yet two glasses of cider or white wine have only 300 calories. If you’re poison falls in the liquor category, then keep this rule in mind: the clearer the liquor, the less toxic and fattening. So a vodka soda is your best bet, while a Jack and Coke is a sugar-ridden taste of Satan. Okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the picture. When it comes to mixers, stick to soda, if you can. Adding some lemon and lime will give it a refreshing twist that is easy to get used to. Juices and tonic have a lot more sugar, which leads to more calories and a worse hangover.
Chaton Anderson is a Writer, Filmmaker, and certified Trainer and Fitness expert, as well as a product and pop culture addict. She is always looking for the coolest, hippest things on the market, as well as the newest health and fitness trends to hit the scene. E-mail her at Chaton@FusionIntegrated.com with questions or leads on products and services on the cutting edge.