Ho Ho How to Survive the Holidays on a Diet

Lights, trees, menorahs, snowmen and lots and lots of decadent treats and festive parties.  It’s that time of year again and the holiday season is, without a doubt, the most challenging time for dieters.  Regardless of culture, location on the globe or holiday celebrated, most people rejoice by breaking bread with friends and family.  And bread is only one of the culprits as sugars, butter, high calorie cocktails and fattening snack foods take center stage this time of year.  Many people forego their resolve to lose weight and settle for the hope of not gaining more, but even maintenance can seem impossible.  Thankfully, with a little preparation and a little creativity, it is possible to weather the holiday season on a diet, and even sneak a few treats in here and there.

  1. Get Moving: It’s no surprise that exercise is a great way to head off the pounds, but what many people don’t realize is calorie burning continues to happen even after the running shoes come off.  According to a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, fat-blasting effects post workout can continue as much as 14 hours after exercise, some exercisers burning up to 190 additional calories per hour while at rest.  Completing a vigorous workout pre-holiday party will help to manage extra calories.  30-45 minutes of the following exercises should do the trick.  Try:
  • Running (try multiple short sprints instead of long runs to see better results)
  • Interval training
  • Cycling
  • Aerobics/Sculpting Class/Dance Class
  1. Be Picky: When it comes to food, being a picky eater is a great way to splurge without over-indulging.  Instead of sampling the entire spread, by picking a few decadent dishes to indulge in and filling up the rest of the plate with healthy options, many people can still enjoy the occasion without going overboard.  Self-control is key to healthy holiday eating.  This approach empowers dieters to choose their favorites and not waste precious calories on so-so servings.
  2. Don’t Arrive Hungry: Eating a healthy meal at home is the best way to stave off overeating at a party.  A grumbling stomach or faint energy level can drive just about anybody to eating the whole cheese plate.  A full stomach can also help keep the nibbling at bay.
  3. Drink Clearly: Holiday cocktails are notorious for busting waistlines.  Ciders, mulled wines, creamy egg nog and other spirited concoctions are laden with empty calories.  A small sample is a great way to enjoy the bartender’s labor, but sticking to simple mixers, beer or wine will save the waistline.

The good news:  The holiday season can be both fun and healthy.  Keeps these tips in the back of your mind and have wonderful time with friends and family.