By Anthoney J. Andersen – Steroidal.com
With the holidays upon us, the opportunity to snack, drink and overindulge in our favorite desserts will be endless.
For the athletes and exercise enthusiasts, this can be a very daunting time, because food is everywhere – family gatherings, holiday office parties – and you’ve worked so hard all year to maintain a healthy weight and tight physique, only to have it backpedal in the wrong direction from the immense amount of calories and saturated fats that most holiday foods contain.
Don’t be alarmed, though, there are ways to enjoy the holiday season and your favorite sugary vices by following these simple suggestions that will help your body stay ahead of its opponent (food) at all times.
FAT BLOODED AMERICANS
According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans, on average, gain roughly one pound during the holiday season. This number of course is higher with individuals who are already overweight or considered obese.
With more than one-third (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults being defined as obese, it’s very important to keep an eye on our caloric intake over this joyous season.
When you’re gathered around the TV watching football or your favorite holiday movies, it can be extremely difficult to fend off those delicious snack foods.
And you know what, you don’t have to.
One of the best ways to avoid excessive weight gain is to squeeze in healthy low-calorie choices during the day and save the real eating for dinner and dessert.
Instead of snacking on chips and dip, exchange it for a veggie platter containing the likes of broccoli, carrots and celery. By planning your day – and even your occasional splurge – will help keep your calorie intake at a manageable level.
EAT THE FOODS THAT TICKLE YOUR FANCY
This kind of piggybacks the previous section, which is watching your snacking throughout the day. Instead of munching on cookies and chips all day to fill the empty void in your stomach until dinner, try and save those extra calories for those ‘special’ foods that you crave during this time of year.
RATION YOUR PORTIONS
The phrase ‘less is more’ can work wonders here. Rather than banning your favorite foods altogether, simply keep a watchful eye on your portions – this will not only satisfy your cravings – but it will also help you manage the ‘bad calories’.
The trick is to consume larger portions of healthier foods throughout the day and consume smaller portions of the high calorie foods at dinner.
AN EMPTY STOMACH IS NO BUENO
One thing that you might be considering this holiday season when it comes to watching your weight, is going most of the day without eating in order to gluttonize your way into a nice fat-filled coma come dinnertime.
According to research conducted by the Calorie Control Council, the average American may devour as much as 4,500 calories – and a whopping 229 grams fat – during a typical holiday gathering.
The average holiday dinner can contain an upward of 3,000 calories, and another 1,500 from snacking and drinking leading up to the big dinner. Combined, that’s the equivalent of more than 2 ¼ times the average daily caloric intake (FDA recommends 2,000 calories per day) and nearly 3 ½ times the fat.
The average person may consume enough fat during a holiday dinner to equate to three sticks of butter.
The American Heart Association lists the following as a way to maintain a ‘low-fat holiday’ diet:
- Consume lower-fat and reduced calorie foods for days leading up to the holiday feast or for days following it.
- Be prepared to fight back your urges when it comes to your favorite treats; if you’re a fan of both apple and pumpkin pie, have a small slice of both, rather than taking a full serving.
- After the meal has culminated, begin a yearly tradition, like taking a nightly stroll afterwards. This of course will help burn off some of those unwanted calories.
THE WRAP UP
The holidays are supposed to be a time full of laughter, joy and delicious eats; not a time full of stress and painful discomfort from overindulging in fatty foods.
So, don’t fret – just ease into the holidays with excitement, and enjoy your favorite foods while remembering the cardinal rule: moderation is key. Happy holidays.