Here’s an unpopular advice: It’s totally OK to indulge a little through the holiday season. Yes, you read that right. Eating a little bit more than usual won’t give you as much of the dreaded holiday weight gain.
According to Charlotte Markey, a psychology professor at Rutgers University, giving yourself permission to eat more than usual during the holidays can actually help you control your weight. Having guilt or other negative feelings towards food will not lead to healthy weight watching.
Truth is – no one can skip December, so you just have to sort of accept that it’s Christmas and you’re probably going to more dinner parties than any other time of the year, and that you’re probably going to end up eating a little bit more. But that doesn’t mean you have the license to consume the entire pumpkin pie. Markey adds that indulging several times in a month will not lead to significant weight gain.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it showed that people don’t put on as much as weight during the holiday season as we think. In fact, most of the participants only gained less than a pound between Thanksgiving and early January.
So, honey – relax. Indulging on that extra piece of cookie won’t add another belly roll – unless you eat the whole cookie jar. Don’t feel guilty about having the good stuff (note, in moderation.) Don’t starve yourself, but avoid over-indulging too.
Today.com shares some specific strategies on how to put this in action here.
However, if you want to err on the side of safety, you can swap out your it-wouldn’t-be-Christmas-without-them foods for healthier alternatives. Everyday Health suggests the following food swaps:
- SKIP Full-Fat Dips, EAT Yogurt Dips
- SKIP Alcohol Calories, DRINK Wine Spritzer
- SKIP Candied Yams, EAT Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- SKIP Dark Meat, EAT White Meat Turkey
- SKIP Store-Bought, EAT Homemade Stuffing
- SKIP Traditional Gravy, EAT Low-Fat Gravy
- SKIP Cranberry Sauce, EAT Cranberry Relish
- SKIP the Casserole, EAT Fresh Green Beans
- SKIP White Flour Rolls, EAT Whole-Wheat Rolls
- SKIP Eggnog, DRINK Cider
- SKIP Pecan Pie, EAT Pumpkin Pie
See Everyday Health’s original article here for specific portion control recommendations.
What holiday dinner staples are you willing to swap out for healthier alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!