I’ve been using the Tactio Health app for a few years now. It’s a great app to help you track your weight, body fat and health.
Today I received this article from them, and I thought I’d share it with you:
10 nutrition tips to help you survive the holidays
The end of the year is approaching and it might feel like it requires a lot of discipline and focus if you want to maintain your weight. It’s hard to resist the hunger when we’re in front of a gorgeous Christmas table with the extravaganza of all the colors, aromas, and goodies that we enjoy eating so much. It’s a festive feeling that makes us simply want to eat it all and enjoy the party. Enjoying the party is important.
You need to focus this time on your family and loved ones, make sure that you share quality time together and give yourself the luxury of family time. Eating and sharing is obviously part of the fun, but just a few tips could help you make the most of the holidays without building up so much unhealthy calories into your body that you may regret when you weigh-in on January 2nd, or worse, make you scared of that New Year Weigh-in.
Did you know that binge eating triples at this time of the year? Especially if you are in an empty stomach before the events! You need to enjoy the “goods” and identify the “villains” during this time. Keep in mind that all foods should be consumed in moderation and that it’s always in the end about “making the right choices”.
Tip 1: Focus on family, not on meals.
Your Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve should be concentrated in company of your family who is, sometimes, so hard to gather. Spend time with a nice and long chat with that cousin you played in childhood and you have not seen for years.
Tip 2: Pace yourself. Take your time. Listen well, exchange and discuss.
Eat slowly until you realise how much is enough for you! Put your fork or spoon down after every bite. During any meal, your brain receives signals from your stomach and intestines that tell it when you are full. But it takes about 20 minutes for those signals to travel from your gut to your noggin. So, if you are a speed eater, wolfing down bite after bite in rapid succession, you can pack in a lot of extra mouthfuls – calories – during that lag time.
Tip 3: Meat – Go lean and learn what to combine it with.
The first step is to avoid fatty meats. Ham and Turkey? Go for the turkey breast! There’s fish and you feel like it. Wow, that’d be great for you but meat is fine. Hey! It’s the holidays! It’s a party time and you can enjoy that juicy meat, even if you go for that small innocent slice of ham. Whether you do opt for the Turkey or you go for some ham, remember to remove the skin. It is rich in cholesterol and increases a lot the meat calories. And if you fill up your plate with meat, try to save on the sides by going for rice and vegetables. Fill your plate with various salads (with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon and a bit of sea salt), or try a creamy dressing if it’s made with light yogurt instead of cream or mayonnaise.
Tip 4: Watch out for the other villains!
Fats and cholesterol are found in a great number of foods. They are in the egg yolks, butter (olive oil is a great alternative), poultry organs, foie gras (a slice on Christmas eve won’t hurt :-), gravy, sour cream, mayonnaise, yellow and creamy cheese and some seafood, such as shrimp and crab. If you have a high cholesterol level or trying to eliminate weight, these foods should be avoided. When you pass by them on the table, start a new conversation; it will help you ignore them. The sense of personal victory will compensate the desire to eat them.
Tip 5: Prefer leafy greens! Eat slowly!
One great tip that really works is to always eat a salad before eating the main course. Don’t allow yourself to eat anything else before finishing the salad, which means by the time you get around to your main meal you’ve already loaded up on veggies. What’s more? Half the time you find yourself fuller quicker and you’re not as likely to overeat on the less healthy items that usually come with the main course. Also at dinner watch out for mayonnaise, pies, and couscous. They can put tons of unecessary calories. Eat very slowly. Do not be swayed by the comments of family members. Thank them politely and educate them on healthier choices.
Tip 6: Nuts, high calories but good fat sources.
Nuts such as walnuts, chestnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts contain no cholesterol but are a good source of fat. As a consequence, very caloric. If tempted, eat a handful of nuts and prefer the natural, not along with other preparations such as pies and cakes. The caloric value will increase greatly.
Tip 7: Select desserts wisely. Think portion & pace.
In the case of desserts, they must be chosen carefully, because there is no point you make a good selection of food during dinner and indulge in sweets without all the restrictions. In general the desserts are rich in calories because they are high in fat and sugars. Try to choose the options of fresh fruits, fruit salads, fruit sorbets or even a small slice of fruitcake. Ok, if you do go for the Christmas Log, take a thin slice and enjoy it, but slowly. “Portion and pace” are key focus areas of holiday weight survival.
Tip 8: Champagne is better than beer and wine.
Alcoholic beverages also represent a significant increase amount of calories in your food. Therefore, its use must be tempered. Each gram of alcohol provides about 7 calories to the body. For this reason, among the options, choose champagne instead of beers or wines: fewer calories and less carbs. Of course, drink all the fresh water you can. Hydrate yourself! The more the better!
Tip 9: Do not arrive hungry!
Nine out of 10 people will overeat if they skip meals. Our bodies need food every four to five hours. So, do not try to skip meals to “save calories” for the party. You will regret it after all! Eat a light meal before a party and you will arrive in control of your appetite and actually eat less.
Tip 10: Be realistic! And of course… BE ACTIVE!
It is very easy to give up on a diet especially at this time of the year. This happens for two reasons. First, because we set goals unrealistic and, second, because we want to see results now. When these do not appear, the motivation fades and the diet is abandoned. For this reason and to counter this trend, have a realistic plan: know, for example, it is realistic if you do not lose weight during the holidays. Even if you take a few pounds it is just normal. Do not beat yourself up with unrealistic objectives.
Enjoy the moment with the loved ones and even with yourself. Strive to maintain your weight by balancing party eating with other meals. Eat small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy celebration foods later without overdoing your total calorie intake. And between the parties? Go outdoors with your loved ones and take a walk, play, run, etc…. Have fun! Be active. Walk, go dancing, move that body and rock it! Get plenty of rest and have a great time! Enjoy yourself.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!