With food temptations at their greatest, it may seem impossible to lose any weight during the holiday season, but, if you pay close attention to detail, losing or maintaining a healthy weight can be done during the holidays. Most of us would agree that holidays are healthier when we can maintain a healthy weight.
Be recipe ready. As you search and shop for holiday recipes, search for those already incorporating low or reduced fat.
Replace high fat oil(s) – Applesauce and canned pumpkin are good substitutes in most baked good recipes. Look for trans-fat-free oils, spreads and butter. Instead of oil, use low-fat or non-fat cooking sprays to coat and cook meat, sauté vegetables or prepare omelets.
Cut down on sugar – Keeping tabs on how much sugar you’re swallowing is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Explore using sugar substitutes like stevia which can be used in drinks and for baking. The good news, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) is that cutting down on sugar may be easier than you think. Read food labels to identify sugar and hidden sugars.
Garnish not! – Skip the added butter, whip cream, gravy & cream sauces. Going plain allows you to enjoy 100 percent of the foods natural flavor.
Explore your menu options – The internet, the library and most newspapers include articles that offer step by step tips for healthier baking, shopping and cooking.
You bite it, you write it – What if just by making one change in your habits you could double your weight loss? It may sound too good to be true, but many experts say that the simple act of keeping a food diary can encourage you to eat fewer calories — and thus lose weight. Don’t deny yourself of your favorite holiday foods, instead watch your portion size and track what you eat.
Food tracking reveals:
What’s missing – Food tracking or food journaling allows you to see how much and what you are eating. You also see what you’re not eating (good carbs vs. bad carbs, fiber and hidden sugars) and perhaps your diet is lacking fruits or vegetables.
Food triggers – Food tracking can also reveal and identify triggers to avoid, such as not eating enough throughout the day and then overeating at night, or overeating when drinking alcohol.
Track your physical activity – In almost all plans to lose or maintain a healthy weight, you have to stay active.
Set your goal to lose or at least maintain your weight during this upcoming holiday season. There is a tendency to gain weight in adulthood, but being overweight increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer, arthritis, breathing problems and other illness. Therefore, most adults should not gain weight. If you are uncertain about your risk of developing a problem associated with being overweight, you should consult a health professional.