Holiday Food & Exercise Survival Strategies
Weight management is a balance between calories you take into your body and calories you expend through daily living and exercise. If both sides are equal, weight stays the same. Eat more than you expend and you gain and, conversely, eat less or expend more than you take in and you lose weight. Despite the seeming simplicity of this, many of us struggle, especially during the holidays where we battle the evil duo of food temptations and less time (for exercise). Below you’ll find some helpful eating strategies and suggestions from hospital dietitians and exercise physiologists to help you through the holiday season, controlling both sides of the sometimes tricky weight management equation!
Eating: At Home and at the Party
- Eat consistent meals. Maintain normal eating patterns. Don’t skip meals in preparation for an evening party. You’ll probably binge at the party.
- Eat before the party. Everyone knows not to go to the grocery store hungry. Same applies for parties. Going to a holiday party hungry will lead to overeating and probably not eating the carrot sticks!
- Drink lots of water. Water fills you up. If you indulge in alcoholic or fruity drinks at a party, drink one glass of water for every drink you consume. Avoid calorie-laden drinks like eggnog (at 350-400 calories a glass!).
- Party plate: Choose a smaller plate if that is an option; if you fill up a small plate, you’ll eat less overall than if you used a larger plate. Next, look at everything before you start nibbling or filling up that small plate. Find the healthy choices things that are healthy choices — fruit, shrimp, cut up vegetables. Limit yourself to one trip to the serving table.
- Cut down on portions: Enjoy some of your favorite treats, but limit yourself to a few bites. Yvette Dionne, registered dietitian at The Westerly Hospital, urges you to take that bite of food that comes only once per year and really savor the tastes. Be truly mindful while you eat and enjoy the experience.
- Ask yourself do you really want this? Yvette also says that when you are confronted with so many foods during the holidays, make sure you check in with yourself; Are you really hungry or are you eating because the food is there? But remember, if you really are hungry and want that treat, savor it and compensate later with smaller portions at mealtime.
- Hospital exercise physiologists Kristen Chianese and Julie Oakley remind us to make time for exercise, even if you have to modify your plan or shorten your workouts.
- Another great suggestions is to spend time with your family by sharing your workouts. Go for walks after lunch, dinner, or during half-time and catch up on family news.
- Our exercise specialists also remind us that the goal over the holidays is to maintain your body weight rather than lose weight. And they remind us all to resume exercise as soon as possible if we do get sidetracked.
If you have overindulged and gained that one pound (or more) over the holidays and need help getting back on track, call one of our registered dietitians in Nutrition Services and find out how they can help.
For information about Nutrition Services, click here.