Thanksgiving marks the start of our holiday season (or it used to) and the start of holiday overeating! As we near the end of the year, you may start to think, “What does it matter if I gain a few extra pounds now? I can start the healthy habits January 1st.” What if you actually made just a few changes now to avoid the holiday bulge and form healthy habits before the calendar turns?
Here are my top 10 tips for avoiding the holiday bulge and getting a head start on the New Year:
1. Drink more water. The goal is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water or at least 8 – 8oz glasses of water per day. 2. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed. This is the recommendation of most health research; however if you just can’t do that, some new studies suggest that eating a protein snack before bed might boost your metabolism. Regardless, definitely avoid ice cream! 3. Eat the highest calorie foods earlier in the day. A big meal at lunch is a better option than a large dinner. 4. Eat a minimum of 6 servings of vegetables a day. Color in your diet is important and vegetables are essential. Remember, 1 serving equals 1 cup - not one baby carrot! 5. Eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates (such as breads, cookies, crackers, etc). Protein keeps you full longer by sustaining your blood sugar while the body burns through the carbohydrates quicker, causing blood sugar swings. 6. Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol often leads to the munchies. 7. Supplement with a whole food multi-vitamin. Too many of us have gaps in our nutritional plan that need to be filled with supplements. A lot of times when we cannot seem to get full and are always craving something, our body is looking for a particular vitamin that is lacking in our diet. 8. Take Vitamin D daily. Recent studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin D while reducing calorie intake accelerates weight loss. It is also a significant immune booster – nobody wants to be sick during the holidays! 9. Exercise! A minimum of 20 minutes of cardio 5 days a week keeps the metabolism going. If you currently workout more than that, you need to stay at the same activity level to keep off the extra pounds 10. SLEEP! If you can’t sleep, you can’t heal. Our bodies require 7-9 hours of restful sleep at night to allow the growth hormone to kick in and repair our cells from the stress of the day. Not only does loss of sleep stimulate appetite, but it also increases cravings for high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods.