Holiday Survival Guide

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year when we all come together with family and friends. As the weather gets frightful, we all find warmth in the company of our loved ones. Getting together always revolves around food. Every holiday has been associated with its signature food from time immemorial. It may be music to every foodie's ear but not for a person watching their waistline.

Here are a few suggestions to survive this holiday without adding extra pounds:

• Game Plan - Have a set plan for the holiday parties, whether you are hosting or attending. Plan ahead about what to eat and what to avoid. Allocate your calorie quota for the party, but make sure you do not go overboard on the alcoholic beverages and dessert. Drinking a warm drink like hot tea or even a cup of warm water will improve satiety. Fill your plate with salads and vegetables. Take a dessert plate for the main course; in that way, you consume fewer carbohydrates, fat. If you have a sweet tooth, go for that apple pie or creme brulee without feeling that you deprived yourself of the pleasure of the holiday meal but stop with one serving the size of a custard cup or a ramekin.

• Assertiveness - Never be afraid to say "NO." You can politely decline the food that you don't want to indulge in without being obligated to eat. If your aunt Karen tries to push her freshly baked butter cookies on you, you should be assertive and not be shy about explaining your weight loss goals.

• Partner - Having a weight loss partner will make this journey towards your goal painless, especially during the challenging times. Exchanging tips, healthy holiday recipes, and even ways to handle the foodies in your life can be more meaningful if you share it with someone with a similar ideology.

• Diet - Maintain your caloric intake as close to normal as possible. It can be very challenging with holiday parties, travel, guests, etc. As long as you are mindful of what you eat, you will not fall off the wagon.

• Exercise - If going to the gym is not possible, aim for 10,000 steps/day. Another option to burn off the calories from that cheesecake is by getting on the dance floor. A pair of dancing feet on the dancing floor for half-hour can help you burn 200-400 calories.

• Sleep - We are all creatures of habit. So, once our routine is disrupted, a good night's sleep may be challenging to squeeze in during the holidays. Always make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep/night. If you are too tired during the day, taking a power nap for 30 minutes can help recharge your body.

• The day-after - Tighten your belt the day after the party, don't eat the leftovers, clear all the pies/pastries from your refrigerator, write down your goals and plan. Get right back into the routine with the excitement of setting the right foot forward from the New Year. Wishing you all a very joyous holiday season.

Author
Dr. Chandrasekaran Aparna Chandrasekaran, MD, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine. Her primary area of care is centered around screening, preventing and management of overweight/ obesity. She offers a comprehensive medically supervised weight loss program at Jersey Medical Weight Loss Center, Somerset,NJ. She is a member of Obesity Medicine Association and is actively involved in spreading awareness about Obesity through her blogs, radio show, and presentations. Her article " Body Mass Index-Is It Reliable Indicator of Obesity" got published in the Journal of Nutrition & Weight Loss in February 2018.

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