Most of us inevitably put on a pound…or two…or five come the holiday season. Here’s hoping 2014 is unlike years past! To that end we asked Jenn Randazzo, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian who specializes in using client-centered techniques to guide people toward realistic and achievable goals and works on the Vega education team, for her top five tips on preventing holiday weight gain.
1. Move more.
Everyone wants to move more over the holidays, but let’s face it: they’re a lot of hurdles to jump over to do so. Cold weather, busy schedules, and holiday festivities and obligations are excuses that we can, and should, retire. Instead, find something that you like doing, and schedule it like you would your brow wax or daughter’s parent/teacher conference. For instance, plug a 30-minute run or yoga class into your Outlook and/or Google calendar and give yourself permission to take care of your needs. And just for the record: although exercise and eating well typically offer the most significant results, physical activity can be just as effective as cutting calories when battling the holiday bulge.
2. Grab a friend.
Having a wing [wo]man who shares in your personal pursuit to not gain weight during the holiday season is a must. Kind of like that mani/pedi special at your fave salon you found on Groupon. So, text your bestie right now, and ask if she wants to stay fit, stress-free, and svelte over the holidays. With a confident assumption she’ll say yes, develop a plan that works for both of you and describe [in detail] how you will jointly achieve those goals. Each of you, at one time or another, will be the goal champion when the other wants to skip that sub-zero morning jog and roll over for about 45 minutes of extra shut-eye. However, the enhanced accountability will translate to met [and maybe even exceeded] goals. And when that happens? Treat yourself to that pair of red soles you’ve been eyeing since July.
3. Change the traditional company holiday party.
We’ve all been to the office holiday party, right? The one that’s riddled with boxes of doughnuts and pastries, bowls of sweet and salty snacks, and that sad, tired bowl of leftover Halloween candy. Instead of contributing to the assault on your waistline, bring something healthy that you would like to nosh. For instance, bring a healthy, plant-based cookie dough dip and fruit slices, or cauliflower buffalo wings. If that’s too much work, snag a satisfying bar like Vega One Meal Bar, and avoid the breakroom at all costs. Oh, and while I’m discussing “office best practices,” here’s another: never keep the candy jar on your desk. It’s too easy for you to hammer 50 chocolate candies in the blink of an eye while your brain numbs out on that all-too-cumbersome Excel spreadsheet.
4. Wait a minute, or 10.
Food is everywhere this time of year, and don’t be fooled into believing that the little mindless nibbles don’t add up. They do. In fact, mindless eating and snacking can be the biggest contributor to adding on additional, unwanted pounds. So before you impulsively reach for that stuffed mushroom, stop and preoccupy yourself for 10 minutes. Go for a walk, read your favorite blog, or get caught up on the most recent social media news you’ve missed. Do something that will distract you. Most of the time, you’ll totally forget about that little nibble. And if you don’t? Eat mindfully. Think about how that mushroom was grown, harvested, and prepared. Once in your mouth, enjoy the aroma, chew slowly, and be grateful for the experience.
5. Create healthy eating habits now.
It’s our human nature [okay, that might be a stretch…sorry, anthropologists] to relax our diet over the holiday season. It’s our one time of the year, besides during the Big Game, Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Thursdays, when we can just enjoy larger meals of hearty foods. Besides, the New Year is right around the corner, and the ideal time to atone for our “sins.” Rather than waiting to be saved by our perfunctory New Year’s Resolution, start making healthy eating habits now that will be easier to maintain throughout the holiday season. For instance, start your day with a Lavender and Earl Grey Muffin or Vega One Hazelnut Chocolate Smoothie, followed by mindful meals and snacking.