What Will Your Scale Say on January 1?

The average American will gain around 5 pounds from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Eve. That should sound like a lot of weight. The problem is that most of you think that it’s not. But, if you look at that seemingly slight weight gain over five years, it equals 25 pounds!

Each holiday plate averages a whopping 1600 calories (that’s not including seconds or desserts) – the average 150-pound person would have to do 4.5 hours of vigorous exercise to burn this off!

To avoid busting out of your favorite jeans this holiday season, it’s very important that you monitor your caloric intake during this tempting and indulgent holiday time. I have devised a plan for you to follow so that you’re not haphazardly eating or left feeling hopeless at the beginning of the New Year.

The first thing is a biggie: Drink water! Sugar-rich drinks and alcohol can throw an average meal into the danger zone. When you start slurping down drinks like margaritas and mudslides, you can easily add over 1000 calories to an already decadent meal. These liquid libations are the caloric equivalent of an average dessert.

Second, portion control is a must. Try not to eat anything out of big bags or large containers. We tend not to pay attention to the amount of food we eat when we multitask and have no reference point for portions. We open a large bag of potato chips, for example, and we eat the entire bag sitting in front of the television. Instead, when you purchase a large bag of potato chips, divide it into small zip closure bags.  This way, when you finish a bag, you can’t fool yourself into thinking that you need more. Also, be mindful to set the table every time you dine. This ritual reminds you to savor and enjoy the calories that you are consuming.

Third, always look for low-calorie alternatives to sugary, fatty treats. Instead of eating gummy bears, try frozen grapes. When you go to the movies, ask for air-popped popcorn instead of oil-popped. For a real treat, dip fresh strawberries in sugar-free chocolate syrup. Believe it or not, this is some good stuff!

My fourth tip is to never eat when you are stressed out! Some people tend to binge eat when they are overly stressed. Many studies show that women who secrete more cortisol, which is a stress hormone, also ate the most high-fat foods in response. This chain reaction will definitely trigger unwanted weight gain. Instead, try a warm cup of chamomile or rooibos tea to calm your nerves, or my version of hot chocolate, which is steamed skim milk with a little hot fudge sauce.

Try these few tips and I guarantee you won’t break the scale when you weigh yourself come January 1!