By Nanci Theoret –
For food lovers, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are the ultimate diet-buster, starting with the November feast and continuing until the champagne salute at the stroke of midnight. There’s a reason so many resolutions involve losing weight: Many of us will gain five to 10 pounds.
Sticking to a diet during the holiday season is akin to finding the best Maryland crab cake in Montana, or a Maine lobster outside of, well, Maine. It’s a challenge. But it’s not impossible.
Some food for thought in avoiding the holiday spread:
Veggies first: Fill at least half of your Thanksgiving plate with vegetables in their more natural state (think steamed green beans as opposed to green-bean casserole, leafy salads instead of potato salad). At a party, start with the crudités but forgo the accompanying calorie-packed salad dressings and opt for hummus. Veggies are loaded with fiber that makes us feel full faster.
Talk turkey: As long as it’s not deep-fried or part of a multi-bird turducken, turkey a great source of lean, healthy protein.
Count calories: Research continues to prove dieters who track their food intake, including all those BLTs (bites, licks and tastes), are more successful. Smartphone apps such as Lose It! provide calorie counts for thousands of foods, dishes and restaurant offerings and the A-to-Z calorie burn of exercises from aerobics to Zumba, even shopping.
Speaking of exercise: Dieting 101 dictates we expend more calories than we consume. Yup, that means exercise and sticking to your usual workout. Make appointments for yourself NOW by blocking out hour exercise intervals on your calendar and work parties or get-togethers around that schedule. Increase your calorie burn by grabbing the mall parking spot farthest from the entrance. Add fun to your weekly workout – ice skating burns between 375 to 525 calories an hour depending on intensity; Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance party enjoyed by 12 million people and counting, up to 900 calories an hour.
The wonders of water: Many successful dieters say filling up on water before and during a holiday get-together keeps them from over-eating. Allow yourself one heart-healthy glass of wine, then sip water the rest of the night. Avoid diet questions by drinking sparkling water with lime in a highball glass. Volunteer as the designated driver.
Treat your coworkers: Food tends to top many gift-givers’ lists. If you’re the recipient of home-baked cookies or gourmet chocolates, sample one then remove the temptation. Take these pack-on-the-pound presents to the office and avoid the break room, especially if others have the same idea.
Dress to impress: Show off the weight you’ve already lost in an outfit that makes you look – and feel – fabulous. It’s a reminder of how your hard work has paid off. Wear those skinny jeans; avoid pants or skirts with an elasticized waist that allow you to overindulge.
Indulge … a bit: Love Papa’s plum pudding or Aunt Edna’s eggnog? Denying yourself what you love could lead to a full-on binge later. Settle for a half-size portion and savor it slowly or give yourself one cheat meal a week. Just remember, everything in moderation.