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7 Best Ways to Control Holiday Calories

Polly Pitchford - Sunday, November 30, 2014

With the roller coaster of emotions, upsets to our routine and platters of frosted cookies around every corner, this is the most challenging time of year to maintain our weight, our energy and our sanity!  I offer you a list of suggestions that can help us hang on to the good health we have worked for all year.

1. Be the "New Nice" you.  Are you the one bringing in the plate of irresistable frosted sugar cookies to your office coworkers? STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! That was the "Old Nice You" who enticed with sugar, white flour and saturated fats.  Become the "New Nice You" and make little packages of homemade trail mix (minus the chocolate chips) or be the secret elf who leaves positive messages on the desk a different coworker each day.

2. Is this treat special to only this time of year? Asking yourself this question will help to put the brakes on the sugar train. If the answer is "Yes, this is the only time Uncle Chester makes his cheese log" then go for it!  Reminder: Hershey's Kisses wrapped in silver, green and red foil are NOT special to this time of year.  Move on!

3. Let's Make a Deal: Treat = Trek  For every indulgence you allow yourself attach a physical activity to it.  A few squares of Aunt Millie's Fudge = taking the stairs all day today. A couple of Ruth's Rum Balls = 3 laps around the block after dinner, not just 1.  No, you won't actually burn the amount of calories you ingest but it's a great mindset to get into.  It keeps us conscious of how calories are used (or stored) in the body.

4. Schedule your day(s) of indulgence.  Thanksgiving was on my calendar as a day of too many starchy carbs, fats and sugars...and I enjoyed every bite! The days leading up to it were leaner in calories and more active so that I could afford those extra calories.  Know you're going to have that spiked Egg Nog on Christmas Eve? Then cut watch your calories and increase your activity level beforehand.

5. Don't eat a sweet treat by itself.  Eat the sweet treat within 1 hour of a meal.  Two bad reactions are avoided this way: 1 - The sugar won't go rushing directly into your bloodstream because it's slowed down by all the protein, fiber and good fats still digesting in your stomach. This means that you won't get that sugar energy high and resulting crash which means your energy and mood stays even!  You'll also avoid those gnawing, craving feelings after the crash.

6. Liquid Calories Count - Studies show that people on restrictive diets are aware of food calories but tend to ignore liquid calories.  Do you realize that 8 oz. of eggnog, hot buttered rum or a seasonal coffee drink can have up to 450 calories, 25 grams of sugar and 26 grams of saturated fat??  That's an unhealthy meal in and of itself.  See #4 above.

7. Beware the Number of Starchy Carbs in a Day - Nothing wrong with carbohydrates.  They are the body's preferred source of energy BUT I did the math one Thanksgiving: Oatmeal for breakfast, crackers for appetizer cheese, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, pie crusts, late night turkey sandwich (2 pieces bread, stuffing) = 11 servings of starchy carbs!!! You'd have to run 20 marathons to burn up all those energy units!

I hope this list will help you get a foothold on the season's calorie-laden enticements.  Remember not to give up if you fall off track (we all will) just use one of these suggestions to help you snap back fast and continue enjoying the holiday season!


Comments

Linda Larsen commented on 15-Dec-2014 11:41 AM
GREAT article Polly! I'm DEFINITELY going to bring a NICER me to the party!!

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