‘Tis the season of overeating and indulging! Appetizers, drinks, parties, baked goods – it’s everywhere. In order to avoid holiday weight gain, I thought our Cityline viewers may benefit from a few of the “survival tips” outlined below.
Don’t forget to tune into our Cityline Weight Loss challenge in January, kicking off on January 1. We have a lot of new surprises up our sleeve to help you look and feel your very best in 2013!
Dr. Joey’s survival guide to holiday eating:
1. Eat before you go to a party. It is a common misconception that by skipping meals, you will eat fewer calories and lose weight. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Besides slowing down your metabolism, starving yourself during the day makes you more likely to binge later at night. Instead, make sure to eat a small protein-filled meal prior to going out to your party to fill you up and to prevent an unwanted food binge. Stock your cupboards and fridge with the following sources of lean proteins:
Low-fat dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese)
Soymilk, tofu, miso, veggie burgers
Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, halibut, sole, etc.)
Chicken breast, slices, ground chicken or turkey
2. Downsize your portions. There’s no reason why you can’t have a taste of your favourite foods this holiday season—but “taste” is the operative word. Portion size is the key to healthy eating and weight control.
3. Slow down when you eat. It takes 20 minutes from the time you eat until your brain gets the signal that you are full. Remember, it’s not a contest to see how many plates you can fill at the buffet line. Eat slowly, put your fork down between bites and take a moment after you eat to sit back and relax. Once those 20 minutes are up, you likely won’t need that second helping.
4. Limit the booze to help you lose. For every glass of wine or beer you consume, follow it up with bottled water. You can also try adding sparkling water or tonic to your glass of white wine to make it last longer. Lastly, do not use soda pop as a mixer for your drinks. Try having a seltzer with a lime twist or glass of water between alcoholic drinks to help cut calories. Coolers, wine, beer, hard alcohol and champagne contain the following calories:
1 bottle of Bacardi Breezer (275 ml) – 198 calories
1 glass or white wine (5 fl. Oz.) – 100 calories
1 beer (341 ml bottle) – 151 calories
Rum (25 ml) and coke (125 ml) – 100 calories
1 glass of champagne (125 ml) – 95 calories
5. Track the foods you are eating. Studies show that writing down the foods you eat is an effective weight loss tool because it keeps you aware of your eating habits.
6. Keep up your exercise routine. Although the holidays may be a busy time, it is important to not skip your exercise routine. Remember, if you burn the calories you consume, your weight should stay the same. If you’re having trouble finding time to workout, try doing half of your regular routine, do a few laps around the mall before your holiday shopping or exercise first thing in the morning before the holiday rush swings into full gear.
If you’ve had an extra slice of pecan pie (452 calories!), compensate by sweating it out. Consider the amount of calories burned for the following activities:
Activity / Number of Minutes / Calories Burned
Biking (moderate) / 30 / 286
Jogging / 30 / 250
Stationary Bike / 30 / 214
Swimming / 30 / 286
Weight Lifting / 30 / 250
Walking (less than 2mph) / 30 / 125
Yoga / 30 / 143
Please note: Calories burned based upon 150lb individual.
7. Don’t forget to stay hydrated — and no, that doesn’t include alcohol! In fact, many of the holiday beverages and foods we eat actually dehydrate our bodies. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
8. Plan your indulgences wisely. If you are going to give into temptation, do so with thought. Don’t waste your calories on foods you don’t really love. Scope out the scene, ID the food you can’t live without and go for it — ideally a small portion of it of course!
9. Make healthier versions of holiday foods. Traditional holiday foods taste good but are loaded with fat and calories that are not good for your health. To make your favourite dishes healthier, try cooking the stuffing outside the turkey to avoid soaking up extra fat, pass the gravy though a skimmer and serve baked sweet potatoes instead of candied yams.
10. Dress snugly! Always wear a snug-fitting outfit that does not easily expand!
Best Bets vs. Worst Bets
Best: Crudities with salsa or low-fat dressing
Worst: Chips, creamy dips, anything fried
Best: Pretzels, popcorn, baked chips
Worst: Cheese straws, fried snacks
Best: Handful of plain nuts
Worst: Handful or more of candy or candied nuts
Best: Fresh fruits and vegetables
Worst: Fried veggies, wings
Best: Shrimp cocktail, clams, oysters, smoked salmon
Worst: Fried seafood
Best: Low-fat cheeses on water crackers, low-fat crackers, or Melba toast
Worst: High-fat cheeses and crackers
Best: Vegetable or broth-based soup
Worst: Cream soups or bisques
Best: Baked sweet potatoes
Worst: Sweet potato casserole
Best: Cranberry relish or gelatin salad
Worst: Cranberry sauce
Best: Mashed potatoes with a dab of gravy, or a plain baked potato
Worst: Lots of gravy with your mashed potatoes or a loaded baked potato
Best: White-meat turkey without skin
Worst: Dark-meat turkey with skin
Best: Lean meats without visible fat
Worst: Processed meats, sausages, fatty meats
Best: Simply prepared veggies
Worst: Veggies in cream sauces, casseroles, or topped with fried onions or cheese
Best: Cornbread-, oyster- or fruit-based stuffing
Worst: Stuffing with sausage
Best: Whole-wheat dinner rolls
Best: Pumpkin or mincemeat pie
Worst: Pecan pie with whipped cream
Best: Fruit sorbet, sherbet, or frozen yogurt
Worst: Cake or ice cream
Best: Apple cider, mimosa, or bloody Mary
Best: Chocolate-dipped strawberries
Worst: Fruitcake or fudge
How do YOU keep the pounds off during the holidays? Exercise? Making healthier eating choices? Share your tips with us in the comments!