By Abraham Tejeda
With the cold weather upon us, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the ‘winter hibernation syndrome.’ We tend to bundle up at home, partaking in our favorite winter and holiday foods. When we do leave the house, we might help ourselves to delicious, calorie-laden treats at work and family functions, and inevitably build up an extra layer of fat for the winter. At work, snacks are riddled throughout conference rooms, offices, cubicles and lunch rooms like traps. Holiday parties mean candy, casseroles, pastries, and eggnog. But the warm weather isn’t as far off as you think – it’s only about 80 days away! – so how can we mitigate some of the damage done to waistlines throughout the winter season and maintain our hard (or not so hard) earned figures?
I was a chubby kid — scratch that, a fat kid — from my late adolescence through most of teenage years. Losing weight and keeping it off taught me a few lessons about dealing with tricky situations that arise during the winter season.
For those who have large stores of will power, a great tool is portion control. Instead of having the whole box of cookies, several glasses of eggnog, AND a jumbo serving of casserole, exercising portion control can allow us to enjoy our favorite foods and keep our waistlines in check. Try to settle for a single glass of eggnog, a couple of cookies (a “couple” is two for some who might be confused or in denial), and moderate-sized portions of your favorite foods on your plate.
Another good idea is “front loading” with healthy foods. I have at times found myself ravenously hungry before, for example, an evening holiday party. The smell and sight of delicious (but terribly fattening) foods had my mouth watering and before I knew it, I was on my second slice of pie! A fiber-rich snack like veggies before a meal can curb your hunger so you will be less likely to over-indulge. If salads, fruit, or vegetables are available at any of the functions that you attend, help yourself to those for a dose of nutrients and also to keep yourself from overeating the “good” stuff. Another idea is front loading at home before you leave for the function, so when you get there, you’re not starving and, subsequently, gluttonous.
If you forget to bring a healthy snack or can’t help but indulge, there’s always the power of substitution! Most of the different scenarios that will be presented will offer some healthier options. For example, many office holiday parties will be likely to have some fruits and veggies among the selection of appetizers in addition to the cured meats, cheeses, and other treats that we love, but shouldn’t have too much of. In cases like those,