Most people associate the holidays with food, fun, and gaining weight. However, you can choose to enjoy the holidays and still eat healthy. The holidays and fattening food go hand-in-hand. Thanksgiving and the leftovers can last a week. Then come all the holiday parties and posadas. It’s only a few more weeks until Christmas. New Year’s is the following week. Studies show that 75% of a person’s annual weight gain happens between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Make this the year that you avoid holiday weight gain.
How to eat healthy during the holidays:
- Have a healthy meal before arriving at a party or other event that includes food. Feel free to go crazy on Thanksgiving. A single day won’t ruin your waistline. For other holiday events, fill yourself up with healthy comida first. Your stomach will be full of healthy food, and you’ll be less likely to eat junk food.
- Bring a healthy side that you love. Many fiestas encourage us to bring a dish to share. Ensure that you bring something that’s both healthy and delicious. You can limit unhealthy food and enjoy the gathering at the same time. ****
- Focus on things other than comida. When attending a party, spend your time and attention on the attendees. Mingle and socialize. Find a healthy snack and some water.
- Maintain your normal diet and exercise routine. An occasional lapse won’t do any damage, but it’s surprisingly easy to gain 10 pounds or more within 6 weeks if you aren’t careful. Keep going up your exercise routine and stick with your regular diet as much as possible. Avoid deviating from your routine.
If you’re considering the possibility of beginning an exercise program for the New Year, why wait? There’s no time like the present to make your health a priority.
- Add a daily walk to your routine. Get the entire familia together for a daily walk. You’ll burn a few calories, keep your blood sugar under control, and reduce your appetite. Keep the pace enjoyable and you’ll look forward to your daily walk.
- Eat slowly. The slower you eat, the less you will have eaten when your body finally decides it’s full. The easiest way to overeat is to eat quickly. Chew your food slowly and completely. Talk between bites. Drink plenty of water with your meals. This will also fill your stomach.
- Wait at least 30 minutes before having seconds. Your first meal was enough to make you full, but your brain just hasn’t registered the information yet. Thirty minutes is plenty of time for your brain to inform you that you’re full. Have a nice chat with your friends or family before re-filling your plate.
- Start with salad or veggies. Whether you’re eating at home or attending a party, have a big salad or some veggies before your main meal. Remember to take it easy on the salad dressing.
Plan ahead this year. Enjoy your friends and familia during the holiday season. Excessive eating isn’t a prerequisite to having a good time. Focus on making healthy choices and moderation. You can avoid holiday weight gain by making smart decisions.
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.