Strategies for keeping off holiday pounds
12/13/2021 by Michaeleen Burroughs, M.S., RDN, LD
Holidays can upend schedules and habits, but holiday menus don't need to add extra pounds or make you feel sluggish. Healthy choices are always in season.
Here are some guidelines to feel your best as you head into 2022:
- Do not feel deprived.
Make grandma's double chocolate torte or Uncle Bob's cream cheesecake, or whatever is your family's favorite festive food. Just keep portion control in mind. Balance heavy hors d'oeuvres with fruit kabobs, kale chips or veggies. Buffets are not recommended these days to minimize the spread of infection, so if you're hosting, consider plating appropriate portions or bagging individual snack mix portions. It could become a new holiday tradition.
- Be mindful of what you eat.
Go for quality, not quantity. Think about what you plan to eat before a meal or celebration. Make smart choices. If you take a bite and it's not what you like or expected, leave it on your plate.
- Keep moving.
Don't become a couch potato. Exercising can help keep off the pounds, as well as manage holiday stress or holiday blues. Maintain your regular exercise routine and try something new. Whether it's an online yoga class, swimming laps, walking, shooting baskets or strapping on cross-country skis, moving helps you stay healthy. Sign up for a virtual run-walk with proceeds benefiting a worthy cause.
- Monitor your alcohol intake.
Calories from alcohol can add up. For example, a 12-ounce glass of regular beer has 150 calories, while dark beer has 168 calories. A 5-ounce glass of red wine has 105 calories, and white wine has 100 calories. Switch to sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. For an extra incentive, you can volunteer to be the designated driver.
- Stay accountable to yourself.
Plan ways to track your progress. Track steps or minutes of activity. Track your healthy intake with an app or journal. Record weight routinely. Once a week is enough. Make time to meditate or pray.
With a little bit of thought, you can be merry, celebrate, and stay fit and healthy.
Michaeleen Burroughs, M.S., RDN, LD, has been a dietitian at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for 30 years. She works with patients in Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson. Her areas of interest include diabetes, pediatric and adult weight management, and healthy eating for families.