Don’t “Save” Your Calories This Holiday Season

Come January, we want to 
look back fondly on our holiday memories, not regretfully at our formerly fitting jeans. We spoke to Dr. Sandy Van, founder and program director of behavioural weight management program Lifestyle 360, about how we can manage our weight during there-are-suddenly-cookies-everywhere season.

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eat well during holidays - don't save calories

How can I avoid overindulging when I have a Christmas party to attend?

“Have a high-protein snack, like a handful of nuts or Greek yogurt, before you go to the event to curb your hunger. Also, I don’t recommend fasting to save calories – you may end up eating more than you expected when you do dig in.”

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eat well during holidays - don't save calories

Does imbibing during the holidays affect my weight?

“I recommend curbing your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is high in calories and can make you eat more, too. Voicing your goals can help. Say ‘I’ll limit myself to one drink’ out loud to a friend or partner to keep yourself accountable.” (Also, alcohol can increase your hunger, leading you to eat more.)

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eat well during holidays - don't save calories

What are some strategies to make this test of wills easier?

“People tend to eat less impulsively when they schedule a workout, so make exercise a part of your routine. Also, sleeping seven or eight hours a night will make you less hungry throughout the day. Beyond that, use a food journal to track your calorie intake before, during and after the holidays. Keep in mind that one pound of fat equals an excess of 3,500 calories.” (Learn more ways to get your mind, body, and spirit in check for the holidays.)

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eat well during holidays - don't save calories

If I overeat at a holiday party, is there any way to reverse the damage? Asking for a friend…

“For many people, what’s difficult is getting back on track after overeating during the holiday season. You can prep meals in advance so that you can go back to the healthy routine you had before all the indulgence. For instance, you can freeze chili to eat when the holiday festivities are over. Staying hydrated after overeating is important, too.”

Next, learn other ways to recover from a holiday eating binge.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada