It's the most wonderful time of the year yet it's the hardest time of the year to keep our waistlines in check. Many people ask me: "How can I avoid gaining five to 10 pounds during the holidays?" Along with having a positive attitude and self-discipline, I always answer that question with the three tips below. Cheers to keeping the holiday "party pounds" off!
1. Make every meal count.
The key to weight loss is having a healthy, well-balanced meal plan. The meal plan should be tailored to your individual calorie needs, current health status, and food preferences. Eating a variety of nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean protein choices, and high fiber whole grains, will leave you little room for processed food choices.
To ensure you are eating a healthy well-balanced meal, fill half your plate with plant-based food (e.g., sautéed Brussels sprouts), one quarter of the plate with a lean protein source (e.g., grilled salmon), and the other quarter with high fiber whole grains (e.g., quinoa).
2. Make a mind and body connection with every meal and snack. Overeating commonly occurs when your mind is not aware that your body is being fueled. Allowing your mind and body to connect results in healthier portion control and a satisfied appetite. The mind and body connection can be achieved simply by enjoying your meals and snacks sitting down without any distractions. Some common distractions include: watching television, working on your laptop, reading a magazine, and getting caught up on social media. We are all guilty of being preoccupied while we eat. Make a conscious effort to avoid these distractions. Turn off the television. Leave your phone in the other room. When we enjoy our meals without distractions, we eat less and make better food choices throughout the day. Changing eating habits takes time and willpower. If you get off track, jump right back on. Never give up on your health!
3. Move every day.
Exercise is essential for weight loss and our overall well-being. Whether you choose to go for a hike, swim, or Pilates class, exercising is one of the healthiest ways to relieve stress. Cardiovascular exercise is important for heart health. Weight training helps to build lean body mass and strengthen our bones. The American Heart Association recommends that we aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. If you cannot devote an entire 30 minutes to exercise, then try to fit two mini-workouts into your day. Always keep in mind when you want to shed some pounds, you need to burn more calories than you eat.