Put down the pie and pop in the workout DVD, or how to stay healthy during the holidays

I’m two turkey sandwiches, four slices of sweet potato pie and nearly a dozen Crescent Rolls into the holiday season.

My hips are going to spread faster than the BP oil spill if I don’t change my eating habits between now and Christmas.

Most weight gain during the year occurs during the holiday quarter, and folks typically don’t lose the pounds they put on, according to an article from the Washington Post.

It’s the beginning of December, a prime time to learn from the gluttony and subsequent food hangover of Thanksgiving and make smart food choices through Christmas.

Here’s a few tips on how to stay (kind of) healthy during all the buffets, sit-down dinners and break room goodies. This advice has been gleaned from two rounds of Weight Watchers and too many years of eating myself silly at Mama Eats’ kitchen table. Bottom line: treat yourself, but don’t pig out.

  • Eat your veggies first. Fill half of your plate with vegetables and dive into the healthy stuff first. When I fill up on vegetables first, I have less room for the less-healthy options.
  • Pack snacks for work. Is it me, or does the office break room have little elves that constantly fill platters with cookies, cakes and pies during the holidays? Bring healthier snacks in your lunch bag, such as dried fruits or almonds, when you are tempted by the generosity of your co-workers.
  • Don’t forget to exercise – even if it’s just walking. It’s hard to get motivated when it’s cold and gray outside. But a few extra minutes of cardio each day can really make a difference. I like following a workout DVD when I get up in the morning – it gets my day started on a good note. I’m a fan of Leslie Sansone, who advocates indoor walking for exercise (it sounds kind of weird, but it’s pretty awesome).
  • Go easy on the sauce. Some of those holiday cocktails can be heavy on the calories. Check out the nutritional facts for eggnog. And chug some water between those hot toddies.
  • Bring your own dish to the holiday parties. The menu can be a mystery at holiday gatherings, but there’s some security in bringing your own healthy dish. I recommend pumpkin spice muffins.
  • Just say no. Daddy Eats will still love me, even if I don’t try that pecan pie he bought for charity. I’m sure your loved ones feel the same. But if Grandma’s eyes start to well when you turn down her cornbread stuffing, have a small portion instead of a heaping mound.

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