December 9, 2013 | By Tina Haupert
It’s that time of year again when holiday calories lurk around every corner. Family parties, office get-togethers, Saturday night soirees… you get the picture.
But even if you try to be “good” around the holidays and stick to your healthy habits, you could still be committing diet mistakes that leave you a few pounds heavier come New Year’s. Avoid these December diet blunders!
Skipping meals to save calories for later
You might think “saving” your calories for a splurge later in the day (a holiday party, for example) is a smart idea, but you might actually be setting yourself up for a diet disaster. If you haven’t eaten all day, you’re likely to overindulge the second you are faced with a spread of appetizing food. Instead, eat normally and make small calories reductions all day long. For instance, hold the cheese on your breakfast sandwich or skip the dressing from your lunchtime salad. Those little changes add up, so when it’s time to splurge later on, you’ll have “saved” calories without starving yourself all day, which, of course, makes navigating temping party fare a lot easier.
Thinking “healthy” calories don’t count
I always use to think if I was selecting healthy foods (veggie crudites and dip) over not-so-healthy foods (bacon-wrapped scallops) at a holiday party, the calories didn’t really count. Sure, veggies and dip and similar healthy appetizers like hummus and crackers or spiced nuts, are generally low-calorie options, but the calories still add up, especially if you munch on them all night long. Instead of overdoing it, try using a small plate to serve yourself. Having a visual representation of what you’re eating will help you keep even those healthy calories in check.
Feeling a little too festive with the holiday cocktails
Having a drink or two at a holiday party is a wonderful way to relax, have fun, and join in the merriment of the moment. However, it’s easy to feel a little too festive once you’ve had a few glasses of spiked eggnog. And it’s not just about consuming too many calories. If you drink too much, you don’t have as much control over what you eat, which can ultimately lead to your pants feeling a little tighter. If you feel out of place without a drink in your hand, you can pace your drinking by alternating seltzer water with a wedge of lime in between alcoholic drinks. And here are some additional ways to enjoy cocktails guilt-free!
Assuming you can just work it off
Regular exercise is a great way to manage excess calories during the holiday season, but it can’t make up for all of your diet mistakes. For example, a piece of pecan pie will set you back almost 500 calories. If you want to work that off in the gym, you’ll be trudging along on the treadmill for close to an hour! Who has time for that? Staying active will help keep those holiday calories in check, but don’t rely on your workouts to ultimately keep the pounds off.