This post is sponsored by Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center and is written by Elise Mische. Elise is a registered dietitian with Saint Mary’s Fitness Center where she serves as the Nutrition and Weight Loss Specialist. She volunteers year-round with the Nevada Diabetes Association, working at their camp programs and providing nutrition education to children ages 7-17 and their families. Previously, she worked as the Nutritional Coordinator for an Los Angeles-based food company where she developed nutritionally-balanced meal programs for weight loss and maintenance. As both a registered dietitian and an Italian who loves to eat, she constantly strives to find ways to make nutritious foods taste even better to help clients stay on track and meet their personal health goals.
The holidays are a time for family, friends, festivities, and of course, food! While we don’t want to completely deprive ourselves, overdoing it with too many holiday treats can wreck havoc on our waistlines. In order to avoid blowing our healthy lifestyles completely out of the water, here are a few helpful tips to keep you happy, healthy and on track this holiday season.
1. Be consistent – With the exception of a few holiday meals, keep the majority of your meals and meal times consistent with your normal routine. Continuously grazing or opting for more calorie-laden treats can quickly pile on the pounds. Eating too frequently and out of routine are two of the most common holiday pitfalls.
2. Avoid “saving up” for the big meal – A common misconception is to skip meals in order to save up stomach space or calories for the big holiday meal. Studies show that those who skip meals consume far greater calories at mealtimes (and overall) than those who ate balanced throughout the day.
3. Have a game plan – Parties and buffet-style eating can be deal breakers during the holidays. If you fill up with only the first few items you see, you will likely go back for seconds and thirds when you spot other tasty options. This is why it’s so important to have a game plan: First, scope out all of the available options. Next, pick your top 2-3 treat picks (typically ranging from 75-150 calories each) ex: goat cheese stuffed date, deviled egg, salami and cheese roll-up. Then, load up the rest of your plate with low-cal, nutritious options like veggie sticks with hummus or fresh fruit. By filling up on fruits and veggies, you don’t leave much room for the calorie-laden treats, but you also won’t deprive yourself or risk a food binge later. Another good idea is to eat a small salad or cup of low sodium vegetable soup prior to leaving for a holiday bash so you aren’t ravenous when you arrive.
4. Be a smart giver – Some events we are asked to provide a dish. Set a good example and make things easier on yourself by contributing nutritious options like whole wheat pasta salad, Greek yogurt-based dip and veggies, or a fresh green salad. Chances are your guests and friends will be thrilled that there are some healthy alternatives and you know you won’t be loading up on junk food.
5. Lose the Booze – Alcoholic beverages are loaded with empty calories and tend to be downed quickly. If you do drink, limit beverages to 1 per day for ladies, 2 per day to men and drink a glass of water in between. Fancy holiday drinks like egg-nog, hot cocoa, and pumpkin-spiced coffees can be equally as dangerous, so save them for extra special occasions, or split with your sweetie.
Did you know…On average, Americans gain 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years? While that may not sound like a lot, consider having to burn an additional 7,000 calories just to return to your pre-holiday weight! Many Americans struggle to take this weight off long after the holidays are over.
Saint Mary’s Fitness Center will be offering a Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge starting November 24, 2014 and ending the week of January 6, 2015. Let us help you maintain your health and fitness goals through the toughest time of the year! This challenge is for our small group training participants. You do not need to be a member to join any of our small groups to participate in the challenge. Sign up before November 24th and you will get that week FREE. For more information contact our Service Desk at 775-770-3800 or contact Janelle at 775-770-7554 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.