The warm glow of lights, fireside chats, office parties, friendship, laughter, and goodwill are all happy additions to the holiday season. Those five extra pounds, though, are not such a pleasurable addition. And, while it only took a few parties and an extra drink or two to put on the poundage, it certainly takes much more effort to get it off. If this scenario sounds familiar, don’t worry. We have nine helpful healthy weight loss ideas to help you before, during, and especially after the holidays.

Outwit the Scale with 9 Healthy Weight Loss Ideas for the Holiday Season

Part of what pulls us from healthy habits during the holiday season can be lack of mindfulness and preparedness. Being one step ahead of the cookies, cocktails, and calories can be just the defense you need to keep wellness at the forefront of your mind.

1. Have a game plan – First, and most importantly, don’t go anywhere without an action plan for your eating routine. Determine whether or not you will eat dessert, chips, high-fat items, etc. This would be a good time to set a plan for how often you will eat these higher calorie items and at which parties. For instance, before attending the office party, perhaps you can pack yourself some crunchy, salty mixed nuts instead of indulging in potato chips. Whatever you decide, make sure your plan is reasonable and sustainable.

2. Reduce rather than remove – Experts have proven that a diet too strict in nature rarely succeeds. Having the expectation to completely refrain from goodies during the holiday season is not only unrealistic, it can actually trigger an internal rebellion. Healthy weight loss ideas focus on sustainable lifestyle eating, not drastic diets that are hard to keep. The freedom to allow yourself a dessert occasionally, or a small handful of chips helps your mind to feel fulfilled and minimizes the idea of being deprived of something you like and want. Remember, however, to be honest and reasonable when it comes to portion sizes and frequency of “treating yourself.”

3. Choose a smaller plate – If plate size is an option, always choose the smaller one. Psychologically, our minds feel greater satiety when our plates appear “full” to us and we’ve eaten everything on our plate. It takes less calories to fill up a smaller plate, but you still achieve the mental reward of eating a full plate.

4. Bring something healthy – If it’s a potluck-style event, bring one of your favorite healthy dishes so you have an option to enjoy. Bring something that includes fruits or veggies such as a fruit salad with sweet balsamic poppy seed dressing, whole grain crackers with goat cheese and whole fruit spread, or pita chips and your favorite veggies with roasted garlic hummus. Check out blogs, websites, and Pinterest for a plethora of healthy and flavorful options.

5. Sneak in a substitute – For those times when you are not eating a dessert, bring along a few squares of good quality dark chocolate to enjoy at the end of your meal. The rich taste of dark chocolate satisfies the sweet tooth with much less sugar and a fraction of the fat. Plus, studies show that dark chocolate has added health benefits, including antioxidants.

6. Choose your alcohol wisely – Opt for wine (preferably red) instead of beer or mixed drinks high in sugar. The caloric difference here is vast, but you still get the enjoyment of a glass or two of alcohol. Healthy diet ideas regarding alcohol can also include less of it!

7. Fill your plate with the right foods – If you get to choose your food, focus on filling up with items that are:

  • High in fiber (whole grain bread, crackers, veggies, and fruits)
  • Low in sugar (sweet sauces and dips pack a lot of sugar, opt for savory items)
  • Healthy fats (dressings made with olive oil, nuts, yogurt)
  • Less processed (choose the items that are the closest to their natural state as possible)

8. Focus on your food – Again, natural weight loss tips and preventing holiday weight gain have much to do with mindfulness. Be intentional about when you will eat your plate of food and choose a place within the environment where you know you’ll be able to focus on what you’re eating and enjoy it to the fullest. Take time to enjoy the unique flavors, especially the foods that you are allowing yourself as a treat (desserts, canapes, etc.). Avoid talking with someone who makes you nervous or uneasy during this time to prevent “grazing” and “nervous eating.”

9. Drink more water – Choose to drink two full glasses of water before attending an event, or only allow yourself to eat after you’ve had a glass of water at the party. Drinking more water not only fills you up, but it also aids your body in cleansing toxins that inevitably build up from the rich food you will be consuming. Doctors are constantly encouraging us to drink more water. So if you want to avoid weight gain this holiday season, start with this one simple tip.

As an added bonus, think about consulting a Health Coach during the holidays. Nothing helps keep health on track like a little accountability. For more healthy weight loss ideas, call Wellworks For You today at 800-425-4657. Wellworks For You provides corporate wellness programs and resources to help you and your employees remain healthy all through the year!