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By: Kerry Robinson, RD Date: 12/7/09

We are now entering the lull between the two most indulgent holidays of the year when most of us set our weight conscious selves aside and soak up the reality of the season: limited time for exercise combined with festive and caloric culinary temptations around every corner.

Although we may make our best attempts to watch what we eat, our will power is often not enough to save us from that next slice of pie.  Maybe this was the case for you over Thanksgiving, and now you’re worried about what the next holiday has in store.  Because you’re not alone, here are some tips to carry you through the rest of the holiday season. 

Be mindful about what you eat through the holidays:

— Maintain don’t gain!  It may be unrealistic to expect to lose weight during the holidays, so try focusing on maintaining     your current weight.

o   At the Holiday Party or Office Potluck.  Take small portions of the foods you want to sample.  Try putting 1-2 tablespoons of each item on your plate so that you have the chance to taste everything without going overboard.  This might sound like a small amount, but with all the food offerings available at parties, you’d be surprised how quickly the plate fills up.

— Look for powerhouse foods.  Sweet potatoes, cranberries, squash, and dark greens are just a few of the foods that are low in calories and high in antioxidants

Balance out your caloric intake with exercise:

 — Buddy Up. Because holidays are all about enjoying the company of friends and family, stay connected and fit by  finding someone who’s willing to take a hike, bike ride, or participate in a Jingle Bell Walk/Run with you. 

—Utilize the season. It is especially important around this time of the year to keep exercise activities fun and intriguing. Find enjoyment in the cold months by: 

                  o       Discovering an outdoor or indoor ice skating rink near you.
                  o       Learning how to ski or snowboard.
                  o       Going sledding.

— Flag football anyone?  Get the family together and organize a pre-meal outdoor game. Try Frisbee, capture the flag, wiffle ball, flag football—or just play catch.  You’ll benefit from the fresh air, exercise, and enjoy some good family fun. Or, try these cold weather activities!

Remember your plan in social situations: 

— Plan ahead.  We all have a hard time turning down a special friend or family member’s homemade holiday dessert. Whether you decline the offer or accept the offer and take a couple of bites, know what approach you will use in these situations before they arise.

— Educate loved ones. Follow your weight maintenance plan and take the opportunity to explain to others why managing your diet is important to you.  Who knows, you could motivate others in the process!

While you enjoy all of the wonderful celebrations of this holiday season remember to be mindful about your long term health goals. Each eating occasion and party can be an opportunity to celebrate the treasures of the season, make sure you plan, exercise and are mindful about your food as you take in the festivities.


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