Don’t Be Haunted by Ghosts of Christmas Past

We received so many “thank you” tweets and emails about my blog last year at this holiday time concerning tips for responsibly enjoying the bounty of the season that I’ve decided to re-post it here. I hope it helps one and all avoid the mistakes of the season that may have left some with a bad taste in the past . . .

It’s probably no surprise that this season when Christmas trees get trimmed is also the time when waistlines get expanded. But by following a few guidelines, it is not too difficult to enjoy the celebrations of the season without packing on the pounds.

Enjoying holiday cheer is good. Repeatedly saying “Cheers” and knocking back cocktails all night long—not so much. In addition to being loaded with lots of useless calories, alcohol often leads to lousy food choices. So, limit yourself to maybe one drink at the party or family gathering, and otherwise stick to low-cal soft drinks, sparkling or still water.

Choose what you eat carefully—and then savor the flavor. At parties or get-togethers, consider choosing only those foods that are special this time of year, and skip over the items you can have any old time. Make a point of taking in the look and aroma of your special choices before digging in. Then enjoy them slowly to maximize the experience. Doing so should give you big-time enjoyment with minimal caloric intake.

Don’t forget the stocking stuffers. Don’t throw all your good eating habits out the window this time of year. As you’re hitting the buffet table, remember to grab some of those vegetables that are probably sitting next to the dip and whatever fruit might be available. Drink plenty of water too. Having these “stuffers” alongside your chosen special treats will help you feel fuller faster, leading to less overeating and weight gain.

Get enough ZZZ’s to balance out the Ho Ho Ho’s. During this hectic time, it’s key to get enough sleep. When you’re feeling run-down or tired, you might be tempted to grab some high-sugar or high-fat foods to try to give yourself an energy jolt. But the rushes that result are only temporary—the pounds hang around for considerably longer!

Give yourself the gift of understanding. The tips above should help you avoid gaining weight this holiday season, but don’t get too down on yourself if you slip up a time or two. Do your best, but acknowledge that this is just a challenging time of year for eating right. Enjoy the company of family and friends, the—perhaps—unexpected good humor of certain usually-world-weary workmates, and the sights and sounds of the season. After all, things will be back to normal all too soon.

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