Contrary to what most people believe, the holidays don’t have to be a starch free-for all and an inevitable decline into Sweatpants Land. There are ways to maintain, and even lose weight, during the holiday season.
Sure, it requires a little more dedication and commitment than normal dieting and exercise, but if you succeed in just staying the same weight you were before Thanksgiving you’ll be scoring a major victory, and you won’t spend the next three months frantically trying to get back into bathing-suit shape.
Here are five guidelines to follow if you really want to stay in shape over the holiday season:
- Up your water intake. You know you should be drinking more water anyway, but these holidays take it seriously. Go to the store and buy the most expensive, ridiculously elaborate deluxe super-extreme sports water bottle you can find. Make sure it’s at least a pint. It’ll cost you at most $10, but the little investment and the novelty of having a fancy water bottle will remind you to keep it filled, and keep it nearby.
Drinking lots of water aids digestion, and improves your skin tone and general feeling of wellbeing, and it also helps you to feel fuller faster if you drink a lot of water with each meal.
- Keep it to yourself. Nobody needs to know you’re on a diet, and people will make less of a fuss if you turn down treats and extra helpings of dumplings at Christmas dinner. Quietly decline, saying you’re full, and you won’t have people hassling you to try a slice of their raspberry trifle.
If you let everyone know you’re on a diet, you’ll always get those family members who feel bad about their own indulgences and will try to get you to slip up – it’s just human nature! Dieting quietly on your own will add to your sense of achievement when you pull it off.
- Exercise as much as you can. While you’re away from home and your regular exercise schedule it can be difficult to keep it up, so look for ways to substitute for your regular exercises. Go for a walk if anyone needs something from the store, and try to get a small crew of family members to help you take the dogs out for a walk, or go ice-skating. Anything to get you outside will add up.
- Choose your indiscretions. The holidays are hardly a time for gastronomic abstinence, but not everything is worth breaking a diet for. If you’re going to have a piece of cake, have the best cake. Don’t go for seconds, but have a little bit of all the best things, and give the things you’re not that crazy about a miss, even though you normally would have had them anyway.
This will make you feel less restricted by your diet, and won’t have as much of an impact as going into a diet-induced feeding frenzy and eating an entire Christmas pudding.