It’s the season for comfort food. And we all know that too much comfort food can bring on uncomfortable weight-gain. It can happen easier than you think. In the 10 weeks leading up to the New Year, eating as few as 250 additional calories daily (that could be one cocktail!) can equate to five pounds of unwanted fat. If you consider the added stress of shopping and pushing aside your exercise routine for quality family time, the damage can be even greater.
In spite of the odds, it’s still possible to keep the scale from ticking upwards. Follow this three-step plan to stay ahead of the eight ball when the New Year’s ball drops.
1.Just move. Many people believe that they should skip a workout if they can’t do a full 45 minutes in one fell swoop. That’s not the case — you can still stay active. Walk at every opportunity. Park further away from the entrance to the store or work; take the stairs instead of the elevator; do a mini stroll after each meal. The point is to just stay on your feet. Wear a pedometer, and aim to increase your steps taken each day.
2. Eat consciously. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a slice of pecan pie — just be smart about it. Keep portions small when you indulge, or split it with a family member. Choose a glass of wine or champagne instead of a sugary mixed cocktail. Go without gravy. Stay hydrated to avoid mistaking hunger for thirst. And if you taste a dish that doesn’t live up to its billing (it will happen), stop and put down your fork. Every calorie you eat should be worth it.
3. Pair up. It’s not easy sticking to a diet or exercise program, especially when your family might unwittingly throw you off course. Team up with an ally, someone who’ll support your efforts, stick up for you if Aunt Milly mocks your “rules,” and help block food-pushers, if necessary. That person can also be a listening ear, in case you need to vent — the holidays often make all sorts of feelings emerge. Besides, it’s the season of sharing. Make it work for you.