Bob Greene, trusted trainer to Oprah Winfrey, shares his holiday diet tips to help you celebrate the season without gaining a pound.
The holidays are full of fun, family, festivities—and diet pitfalls. Bob Greene, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Life Diet, shares his strategies for fending off holiday weight gain.
To avoid holiday weight gain, plan ahead
While you can't control what temptations a celebration will offer, you can prepare yourself to avoid holiday weight gain. Number one party rule: Never show up famished! Greene suggests eating a healthy snack and making sure you're hydrated beforehand. Another thing to do prior to making an entrance is remind yourself of your goals. If you're trying to get into a slinky dress for New Year's Eve, use that as motivation to stick with your healthy diet plan.
Once at the event, don't feel pressured to eat and drink everything that's being offered to you. It's fine to politely refuse passed hors d'oeuvres or a drink refill. However, if it's something you really want, don't deprive yourself—just be mindful of your portions. If you've waited all year to enjoy your mom's famous eggnog, then treat yourself to one glass.
Here’s another way to prevent holiday weight gain: take the focus off food.
The holidays are about traditions and togetherness, but food has become the centerpiece of these celebrations. "Make holiday get-togethers focused more on the people and experiences," recommends Greene. "That way your satisfaction from the event is no longer about overindulging in food and drink." Instead of concentrating on your plate, focus on socializing—away from the buffet table to abstain from mindless munching. Need to keep your hands busy to avoid temptation? Offer to help trim the tree, wrap presents or play with your nieces and nephews.
To prevent holiday weight gain, stop emotional overeating.
Although the holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year, many people struggle with stress, depression and family conflict. If you have a tendency to reach for fattening foods when you're unhappy, you're not alone. "It's so funny that we'll look to save 50 calories by switching out an item, but then we'll do 400 calories worth of damage because we are trying to comfort ourselves over a bad relationship or a job that we can't stand," says Greene. "Resolving those issues in your life is the key."
In order to stop emotional over eating, you need to address your problems with solutions, not food. Greene suggests making a list of the most important aspects of your life and doing something small each day to improve those areas. It could be anything from attending an educational seminar or taking on an extra project at work to calling a friend you've lost touch with or writing a letter to a relative.
Rethink your workout routines
Exercise tends to fall off the to-do list around the holidays—a time when you really need the calorie-blasting and stress-reducing benefits. Just because you don't have time to go to the gym for your workout routines or it's too cold for a walk or run outside, doesn't mean you can't squeeze in a sweat session.
Greene recommends exercising in the comfort of your living room with EA SPORTS Active More Workouts, an interactive fitness product for the Wii. "It's fun because you can participate in different sports like water skiing and water paddling," says Greene. "You're working different muscles and challenging yourself, but it feels like you're playing." It's also something the whole family can get involved in, so instead of sitting in front of the TV after dinner, try burning off that slice of pie.