Pumpkin pie is a healthy dessert choice.

Pumpkin pie is a healthy dessert choice.

The holiday season is most certainly an occasion for overindulgence for many people who are motivated to eat a little more than due to stress, fatigue and the proximity of delicious temptations that just seem to be everywhere eat this time of year. It is also that time of year where people tend to overeat because of emotional reasons, taking part in consuming traditional foods that are part of a culture or have memories from childhood attached to them. Some people are also motivated to overeat by their feelings, medicating with food to handle emotions such as anger, grief or loneliness. Here are my top six ways to avoid gaining that extra five to ten pounds that many people do during the festive season.

1. Keep a Food Diary to Keep Track of What You Are Eating

Many people already keep a daily food diary, whether it be an online one, such as the free tool at Fitness Pal or simply in a journal of their own. You don’t have to count every single calorie, but there is something about keeping a food journal that helps you note (literally note it in writing) when you might be careening off of your diet and heading towards packing on the pounds. Often when the holiday season arrives, many people simply give up this discipline, which the exact opposite of what they should do, as this is also the season of temptation.

2. Eat Right Before You Party or Go Shopping

Make sure you consume a wholesome high-protein balanced meal before you go to a holiday party or go Christmas shopping. You should also stay away from drinking a lot of coffee or caffeinated sodas before you go out because you could crash and have a let-down in energy later. If you feel full, you will be less tempted to eat a lot of cheese, chips or other fatty snacks at parties, and if your belly is full when you go shopping, then you are less likely to splurge on fast-food or junk food to keep your energy up.

3. Stick With Meat and Vegetables and Avoid Starchy Foods

The problem with most holiday meals is that they are heavy on fatty, starchy side dishes and condiments full of sugar. Fill your plate with meat such as low sodium ham, turkey or lean beef and colored vegetables such as squash, zucchini or broccoli. Stay away from gravies, potatoes, rice and yam casseroles with marshmallows on top. Even something that sounds healthy like cranberry jelly can be loaded with sugar, so try to make your own or stick with no or low-sugar varieties.

4. Stick With Wine and Avoid Fatty, Sugary Cocktails

Winter is that time of year when people tend to drink a little more than usual, and if you want to keep slim and trim, then your best course of action is to stick with a red wine or sparkling white wine and only indulge in a glass or two. Try to avoid the high-carb cocktails that are so popular this time of years such as eggnogs or alcohol coffees imbued with sweet liqueurs such as Bailey’s or Kahlua.

5. Choose High Fiber Desserts With Less Sugar

Some holiday desserts and treats are simply healthier for you than others and if you have a choice in the matter, choose the apple or pumpkin pie, minus the whipped cream or ice cream and stay away from booze-soaked fruit cakes and creamy concoctions like trifle or rice puddings. Sometimes a 70% cacao chocolate bar is a healthier thing to have for a treat or a dessert, rather than more sugary choices such as chocolate-covered cherry or chocolate caramel.

6. Keep Exercising But Be Aware That It’s All About Food

One of the biggest myths about losing weight is that you can somehow get it all off later after the holiday season ends. However recent studies show that exercise accounts for only a small portion of our daily calorie burn, 10% for most people unless their metabolic rate is artificially accelerated in some way. So don’t depend on exercise alone to erase all of the calories that you consumed during the holidays.  For more information about getting those pounds off after the holidays , Toronto weight loss or to book a consultation about anti-aging, vitamin deficiencies, or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at http://www.pinewoodhealth.ca or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about diet, nutrition and our holistic health services.

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