Each year beginning at the end of November through the middle of January millions of people worldwide celebrates. Celebration is defined as ‘the action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social, activity’. Celebrations in many cultures often center on food and drink. Typically these celebrations result in holiday weight gain. Nutrition experts have estimated that during this time there is an average weight gain of 5lbs. A prospective study of holiday weight gain concluded that the average holiday weight gain is closer to 1lb, which is less than previously estimated. Nonetheless it is clear that during these months when people celebrate more, they eat and drink more.
How can you create a sustainable plan where you are able to be present at celebrations while enjoying your food and drink with out going overboard. Naturally this is easier contemplated than put into action. Food and drink have a place during the celebration but do not need to be at the head of the table. As a registered dietitian nutritionist I help people translate the science of nutrition into everyday tangible goals. It is possible to be mindful and develop systems that will allow you to be successful and make healthful balanced nutrition related choices. During this time I recommend an increase in the daily consumption of non-starchy vegetables and a decrease in refined grains and concentrated sweets while staying adequately hydrated. These actions can have a great impact.
When you actively make a choice and put your health first you are the winner. When you commit to following a healthful balanced diet that has room for the occasional celebration you are less likely to experience extreme fluctuations in your weight. You will be providing your body with the nutrients its needs to function optimally and you won’t have to diet. Simply put you will feel better, look better and will be better.
- Don’t go to a holiday gathering starving!
- Make a game plan. If you can have a small fruit or vegetable snack with a lean protein that way you won’t be ravenous when you arrive.
- Make at least ½ your plate non starchy vegetables and limit your intake of fried and extra fatty foods
- Make the majority of your meals plant based
- When you center your meal around plants you are ensuring that your body is getting the fiber it needs to stay regular and vitamins and minerals that keep you balanced
- If you do, consume alcohol in moderation
- Alcohol falls into the empty calorie category. Your body does not need it to survive. Having one drink can add an additional 100+calories to your daily diet.