LAKE OCONEE — Once again, the holidays are upon us. It's the time of year full of joy and “JUNK.” It would be fair to say that, of the nearly 200 pounds of sugar consumed annually by the average American, a majority of it is eaten from Halloween until Christmas. Not only are we surrounded by incredible sweets and home baked goodies, but rich dinners, cocktail hours and social gatherings tend to feature prominently this time of year. Research shows the average adult gains anywhere from seven to 12 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While weight gain can seem unavoidable over the holidays, the good news is that by making a few simple lifestyle changes, it is possible to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain.
1. DRINK WATER— Water is our body’s most important nutrient, and we should drink adequate amounts every day of the year. Drinking water helps improve our metabolism, helps us lose weight and keeps us from feeling hungry. Oftentimes when we experience hunger pains, our bodies are actually dehydrated and are sending a signal to drink water. Drink a minimum of 64 ounces each day. Other liquids such as coffee, tea, soda or milk do NOT count toward this total. Drinking a glass of water before each meal, or before leaving for your holiday party, can help decrease your hunger and increase your ability to lose weight. Many celebrities and models are very aware of how simply drinking adequate amounts of water can help keep their weight under control.
2. BE THOUGHTFUL— Mentally prepare yourself. Actually think about what you will allow yourself to eat, have a plan in mind and focus on healthier choices. Imagine yourself at dinner or at your party, and know what you will permit yourself to eat at that meal. If you are not sure what is going to be served, then plan to eat one protein, one carb and a lot of veggies. It is okay to choose to have a splurge, but limit that splurge to a single dessert. Just because the food is there doesn’t mean we have to eat everything. Much of the time we mindlessly consume food, which packs on the pounds. When we stop and focus on what we are putting in our mouths and become more aware, then we can make healthier choices and avoid ingesting unnecessary calories.