Taking the leftovers is mostly a terrible idea. Often it extends what should be one ‘bad’ day to one ‘bad’ week as we relive all of the holiday’s yumminess several days in a row.
– Rachel Ezelius
Eight Surefire Ways…
To Gain Weight During the Holidays!
by Rachel Ezelius, RD
1. Participate in the Holidays.
You might have walked around the block with your kids Trick or Treating, but unfortunately, that doesn’t give you a pass to eat endless candies before/during/after the walk! It would be difficult to exercise off the ‘extras’ we eat during the holidays. For example, it takes 30 minutes of walking for the average women to burn off the calories in just one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. 30 minutes for just ONE piece of candy!
Also, do you attend every party you’re invited to? If yes, then you cannot see it as an invitation to gorge yourself. From Halloween to New Year’s Eve every weekend can have something ‘special.’ If you view it that way and eat with lowered inhibitions, you may be finding yourself shopping for a size larger in clothes come January 1st.
2. Get Off Your Routine.
With all the holiday busy-ness it is easy to neglect basic routines. Keeping your food and exercise routine is key for warding off unwanted pounds. Perhaps you are going out more and sleeping less. Consequently, you are tired, and too exhausted for exercise, food shopping, and food cooking. You find yourself exercising less (more on that later) and bringing in high-calorie take-out or just eating fewer veggies and convenient foods more often.
3. Eat Traditional Holiday Foods.
It is inevitable that at some point you will find yourself sitting around a holiday table. Where you sit, however, is very important. This is a social gathering, and you eat for a longer time than an everyday, average meal. Therefore, positioning yourself in front of the big bowl of salad and not in front of Aunt Bessie’s world-renowned sausage stuffing is strategic. The longer we sit, the longer we pick, and it is much less damaging picking on peppers than scoops of stuffing.
4. Take the Leftovers.
Taking the leftovers is mostly a terrible idea. Often it extends what should be one ‘bad’ day to one ‘bad’ week as we relive all of the holiday’s yumminess several days in a row. When the refrigerator is stuffed with high calorie, high-fat foods, there is no room for the lean proteins and vegetables we should be eating. The leftovers in the frig also distract us from our normal food shopping and preparation routines, because the less healthy leftover options are readily available and tempting, even if you want to eat better.
5. Dress in Comfy Clothes.
Drawstring and loose fitting pants should not be in the rotation during the holiday season. Tighter clothes keep you on track. It is hard to overeat when you are already trying to suck in your tummy. Take the time to dress for success it can make a big difference. It is amazing how quickly the pounds can pack on when you pay a little less attention to the food.
6. Eat Food Served on a Toothpick (or in a shot glass.)
After a 4-course meal when getting up from the table, you feel full and can appreciate the fact that eating should be over. You don’t have the same feelings however, with a bunch of ‘picks’ and ‘bites.’ It almost feels like you haven’t eaten anything and yet very easily you could have eaten all of your allotted calories for the day! This is a good time to mention alcohol as well. Although it is not technically food, drinkable calories are dangerous and quickly add up and lower your ability to make good food choices. So make your meals matter. Keep them complete with filling lean proteins, large portions of vegetables, and smaller portions of foods high in fat and calories.
7. Bake Something.
You bake “just for others,” right? If you bake the same way you Christmas shop “just for others,” then we are in trouble! Baking goodies needs to be well thought out and planned. Without a plan, you will overbake and have access to high-sugar, high-fat desserts all holiday season. If you must bake, bake only the amount you need and pack it up and get it out of the house quickly. Don’t store baked goods within arm’s length. Pack it out of sight so it can be out of mind.
8. Skip Exercise.
Between family obligations, last-minute shopping, and parties, your workouts often get neglected. Skipping exercise gets you off your routine and almost gives you permission to be more lax with eating your healthy foods and balanced meals. So challenge yourself to go to the gym 5x a week and stay committed by getting your buddy to do it with you.
Rachel Ezelius is a Dietitian registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and certified by New York State. She is the founder of our Eat Smart program, and 4-time winner of Best of Long Island (Dietitian/Nutritionist)