As we start to get into the holiday season we begin to realize our seemingly inevitable fate of indulging in rich foods and spending more time at holiday parties than the gym! A couple of the theories for why we crave food with more starch and carbohydrates this time of year include that these foods stimulate the formulation of the feel good hormone, serotonin, in the brain. Who doesn’t want to feel good? Another theory is that the craving is hardwired into our brains from the evolutionary process begun by our ancestors who would have eaten more food in the winter because they needed the extra calories to keep their bodies warm.
Whatever the reason, it makes staying on track so stressful that we may want to postpone the whole idea to a later time, after the holidays). Yet, nobody wants to start the new year, with a new “heavier you”. Turns out, we don’t need to. In fact, imagine yourself at the end of the season stronger and more vital than ever before. It’s possible. Try Soupure’s TOP 5 RULES for a healthier holiday season and don’t just survive, but thrive, this holiday season.
- Exercise regularly and in the morning. According to registered dietician Laura Manning, one of the best ways to avoid that winter weight gain is to “stay consistent with an exercise routine of 150 minutes a week”. When you exercise in the morning, it “jump starts” your metabolism, and keeps it elevated for hours. That means you are burning more calories all day long. Many people also find that morning exercise “regulates” their appetite all day and that they are not as hungry during the day if the exercise in the morning. In addition, according to Manning, the holidays can be a depressing time for people and people eat more when they are stressed and depressed. Thus, regular exercise can prevent both depression/stress on it own and as it results in weight gain. Once last tip on the subject of exercise – follow up your morning exercise with some family togetherness with a group walk before or after your holiday meal. If you do both, you may end up exercising more than regularly do during the day!
- Avoid banking calories. If you know you are going to a holiday dinner party, eat very sensibly during the day. Do not starve yourself, and “bank your calories” in anticipation of that holiday party. Otherwise, everything (especially all that high fat comfort food) will tempt its way right into your stomach! Manning says “skipping a meal . . . makes your blood sugars out of whack and very low, which will prompt you to overeat.” To be prepared for that party, you should walk into that party with your blood sugar steady and stable. The best way to do that is to have meals during the day with both protein and carbs.
- Exercise portion control. Eat sensible meals prior to that holiday party and pace yourself in between with plenty of water. One sure way to meet your nutritional intake and to exercise portion control prior to that holiday dinner is through Soupure’s Holiday’s Survival Program , which provides a nutrient dense and sensible breakfast sou-thie or lunch soup prior to that holiday meal. If you choose to do it yourself, use your hands to determine portions both at that holiday dinner and for your meals prior to dinner. “A serving size of protein, like turkey or ham, should be about the size of the palm of your hand,” says Manning. Another idea – use the smallest plate available at the buffet, don’t stack your food, and stick to the simplest foods on the buffet (which will lead you back to the fruits, vegetables and simple proteins)!
- Practice the 3 bite rule. If won’t feel like the holidays without dessert, have three bites, chew very slowly and enjoy every bite. If you are one of those people who cannot leave food on your plate, grab multiple forks and spoons and share the dessert with your loved ones and friends!
- Avoid leftovers. As tempting as it is, walk away from the leftovers. It is otherwise so easy to stand n front of the fridge the day after the holiday party and pick at leftovers as the calories count up. It is as if we think those calories don’t count. Unfortunately, they do. “It’s the leftovers that do you in,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. Practice the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind!”