Copious amounts of frosted cookies, buttery rolls, velvety gravy engulfing a mountain of creamy white potatoes, endless plates of pumpkin pie and a flood of booze raining down from the liquor cabinet may have you packing on some extra pounds.
Holiday weight is nearly unavoidable and when Aunt Yetta’s macaroni salad calls you for a second helping…you answer it. So, there are a few tricks you can adopt to lose the extra padding from too much pudding.
*Spend 8 minutes every morning BEFORE breakfast exercising. The key here is to tell your body to start burning the leftover fuel you already have in your body from the previous day before it stores it and burns your morning bagel instead.
Do a couple of quick stretches and do at least 5 lunges with each leg. Bend your knees to lower your body until your left thigh is parallel and your shin is perpendicular to the floor. Straighten legs and return to your standing position.
On a secure chair, bench or even your bed, do at least 10 inclined pushups: Get into pushup position with your hands placed slightly wider than your shoulder width. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the surface. Pause then push back up into your starting position.
On the same securing surface, turn your back and do 10 tricep dips. Sit on the edge of your chosen surface with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you. Place your palms facedown next to your thighs and, keeping your arms straight, scoot forward until your hips and bottom are in front of the seat. Bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to floor. Push back to start and repeat.
If you haven’t hit the 8 minute marker yet, fill the rest of your time with “crunch-ups.” Do five situps and then switch to five crunches before alternating back to situps without stopping. Repeat until time runs out.
*Pack in the protein. Instead of going in for a second helping of starchy potatoes or a white roll, give yourself a second helping of turkey, chicken or other lean meats. If you have the will power, double up on veggies that aren’t soaked in cheese or dipped in dressing.
*Brush your teeth. If you find yourself under a munchie attack, brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash. Food typically tastes bad after brushing. It’s good hygiene and it will tell your taste buds now is not the time to eat.
*Chew. Gnaw on a stick of sugar free gum or air if you are out of choices. The University of Rhode Island found that chewing stimulates nerves that are connected to the area of the brain controlling satiety.
*Blackout. According to the book, “Prescription for the Nutritional Healing,” the color black is linked to naturally suppressing appetite. Use a black table cloth or change your computer background to black to trick your brain.
*Roast, grill or bake you meats. If you have a choice between fried chicken salad and grilled chicken salad, the healthier choice is clear. GRILLED every time, but the real kicker is what you put on your salad. (We will get to that next.)
You don’t have to say goodbye to breaded creations. I love chicken parmesan. Instead of flour, egg and frying – dip your chicken in an egg white and then coat with Panko. The Japanese bread crumb is naturally crunch and requires NO FRYING! Panko has less sodium, zero saturated fat and it is higher in fiber than regular breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 until thoroughly cooked and you will save yourself an extra dish to wash!
*Eat clear or brightly colored. Skip white. A grilled chicken salad sounds harmless…healthy even. However, the sneaky dish can have more calories than your average burger and fries meal! The cheese you sprinkle on and the ranch you drench over your veggie powered choice ruins your good intentions. Stick with clear dressings. Italians and vinaigrettes are best. If it has a hint of white, run. This goes for soups too. If it is creamy and has the milky hue then it is most likely packed with calories and fat at the hands of heavy cream.
When it comes to your plate, it should be colorful. It’s an easy rule. If you are in doubt, make sure your meal is NOT beige. Starches tend to be brown or tan colored. Opt for reds, green or yellows that are bright.
*Swap it, don’t skip it. You don’t have to sacrifice. Just swap. For example, want a crunch snack? Swap chips for walnuts. Or, trade your salad croutons for sliced almonds or sunflower seeds to get that extra crunch you crave.