Wolf Point Herald

Shedding The Holiday Pounds

The holidays are over and you’re left with some presents, a lot of dishes and most likely a few extra pounds. How did this happen? Well, it is a slow, gradual slope starting with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year’s Eve.
A week or so before Thanksgiving people start preparing their meals, trying out recipes, sampling pies, etc., and then finish off the holiday by gorging on food for 24 hours straight. Sounds a bit strange out of context, and most people would never subject their bodies to the calorie overload any other day of the year. This happens because people make exceptions and cut corners around the holidays.
Once Thanksgiving is over, people are in eating mode and surrounded by cookies, cake, egg nog and all sorts of meat and potatoes, so it is no surprise when they have a round belly resembling Santa Claus on Jan. 1. So put down the fork and try some of these tips for losing the Holiday weight.
Step Away From The Dessert Tray – During the Christmas season, you might give yourself a free pass to test taste any dessert that comes across your plate, or within 50 feet of your peripheral vision. But if Jan. 2 rolls around and you find yourself taking second helpings of your aunt’s weird fruit gelatin dish, you need to step away from the desserts. This doesn’t mean you have to cut the sweets out completely, but you should probably revert back to your old habit of having a slice of cake once in a while rather than eating yourself into a sugar coma.
Hit The Gym Again – The holidays are all about spending quality time with your family, so it isn’t surprising when the treadmill gets neglected in lieu of playing with your cousins or visiting with a grandparent. But now, there is really no excuse. All the family members have returned to their respective locations and they won’t be standing in the way of your exercise routine. So renew the gym membership, slip on your running shoes, and work that extra serving of mashed potatoes off.
Increase The Good Liquids, Reduce The Bad – Even those who aren’t big drinkers can often be persuaded to have a few glasses of eggnog or spiked cider around Christmas time and those who drink regularly see the festive time as a reason to drink a little more. Unfortunately, alcohol is a diet killer. There are roughly 100 calories in a shot of alcohol or one beer (depending on the brand). So, if you go out and have five or six drinks in a night, you’ve consumed over 25 percent of your daily calories, if you’re operating on a 2,000 calorie plan (2000 is often considered an average caloric intake for a day to maintain your weight, but this can vary greatly based on your height, weight, gender and dietary needs). If you cut calories elsewhere, you might not gain weight, but that isn’t the point. Alcohol offers no nutritional value, so you’re putting empty calories into your body. So, maybe stick to water in the New Year.
Cut The Massive Portions – On Thanksgiving and Christmas, anything goes on portion sizes. Five helpings of ham and mashed potatoes? Sure. Nine of your grandma’s homemade cookies? Go for it. That’s all fine and dandy in holiday-land, but in reality, that’s not going to fly if you want to remain somewhat fit. After your holiday binging session, bring your food intake back down to a normal level. This should be easier considering you won’t be bombarded with dish after homemade dish at every meal.
Use Your Gifts As Motivation – It might be hard to wake up after all the fun and festivities and do something boring like getting healthy. But, there is a way. Pick one of your gifts, maybe a new dress, a briefcase or a pair of shoes. Now, imagine how you would want to look with this new, exciting item. You probably want to look healthy and in relatively good shape. New, fun items have a way of making you want to be fresh and looking your best. It is also a way to focus on something fun from the holidays other than all the yummy treats.
Don’t Over-Do It – So maybe you gained a few pounds over the holidays, but you shouldn’t freak out. These tips will help, but what won’t help is crash dieting or punishing yourself. I would be more worried about someone refusing to engage in any holiday festivity involving food. Don’t be that person, that person doesn’t sound fun. Gaining a couple pounds in December is normal and probably worth it. If you just drop the excess in the new year, you’ll be fine. Don’t start eating like a rabbit or spending four hours a day at the gym. Moderation is the key, whether it comes to eating food or losing weight.