I used to joke around and say that I had to lose 5lbs to compensate for the 5lbs I would gain from the holidays but the truth is I have never enjoyed gaining weight over the holidays. I just laughed about it because it seemed like it was unavoidable.
Easter is around the corner and there is always so much food- the Easter portions can get crazy! Traditionally, there are always chocolate bunnies, puffy marshmallow Easter bunnies and tons of other candy and treats during this holiday. The Huffington Post published a fun little quiz about how much we really know about the candy we are consuming. Check it out here, you may be surprised- I definitely was!
I love Easter and the joy that it brings. The weather is always nice and warm. It is a great opportunity to wear pretty spring dresses - or anything spring related. (Remember, I am in AZ) Plus, family time is invaluable! For those of us who are Christian it is also some time to reflect on what the meaning of Easter really is. For those who are not, you can still relate to holiday weight gain and food!
When I was growing up, the Easter bunny used to come to our house and hide eggs, goodies and our basket. He would ring the door bell and was always so quick that we never caught a glimpse of him but we always knew it was him because he would drop some of his Easter basket grass where he had been.
As a kid I loved ham and as an adult I love ham!! And leftover ham! My mom used to make ham hock & bean soup with the leftovers which I learned later that others just call ham and bean soup. I have learned to make a few other soups using leftover ham but that was a side thought (I get distracted by shiny things too!) let's get back to Easter meals.
There is so much food to enjoy and I understand why *one plate* can be around 1,500 calories!! ONE PLATE!! Everyone knows that 3500 calories equals 1 pound and an average person needs to consume anywhere between 1500- 2000 calories (men can be in the higher ranges than this) so if a person eats one plate with 1,500 calories on it and then a desert, they have already over consumed for the entire day!! But what if you have seconds? ruh roh..... that is where problems can come in and weight gain occurs.
ABC 15 put together some popular dinner table food items and their serving sizes as well as the calories contained. Check out the highlighted link to see if your favorite foods are listed there. The reality is most people go back for seconds and desert is usually a minimum of 500 calories. This is how weight gain occurs. Duh, you already knew that.
Then the next few days after usually consist of leftovers and usually they are not eaten in moderation so with the combination of the food being higher calorie and consumed heavily, people gain significant amounts of weight within a short period of time. Nobody wants that and it is unhealthy. That is always my biggest point - health, not vanity. So Easter portions should be moderated to avoid weight gain.
The plan of action for today and the next couple of days:
1. Get in some physical activity. Go for a hike, workout longer, do MORE than what you typically do. This will help counteract any excess calories.
2. Stay within your daily calories today and the next few days, maybe even 100-200 less to help counteract Sunday's debacle.
3. Take a look at the plan for Easter Day.
Plan for Easter Day
1. KNOW YOUR LIMITS and plan for success. Accept the fact that there will be scrumptious things but we don't need to gobble it ALL.
2. Start with a light breakfast - I recommend getting in some veggies during this meal. If your family celebrates in the evening then have a light lunch too. When eating appetizers, those should be light too and stick with veggie items. For example, we have asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and even though the prosciutto is fatty, the asparagus is not. That is a better choice than cheese and crackers.
3. Drink water all day- this helps the brain know you are full prior to being overfull. Especially be sure to drink a full glass 20 minutes prior to your meal. This will also help reduce bloating due to excessive sodium. Most holiday meals have higher doses of salt and this leads to bloating -and other health issues and water helps flush that. Besides, most of us do not drink enough water anyway.
4. Workout. The day(s) of your big meal you should workout. My personal preference is to workout vigorously to combat any extra calories consumed during my Easter meal. It would also be good to workout the day before and after. The extra calories gotta go somewhere and if you don't burn 'em off, then you probably know exactly where they will go! If you do not normally workout, you should try going for a walk or doing some jumping jacks, jump rope or any small activity to boost your metabolism.
5. Incorporate veggies and eat that first. Most holiday meals consist of a lot of rich foods and many are high in carbs. Most people opt for these yummy choices because they are exactly that- yummy. Note to self: high carb foods ALWAYS contain high calories too. If your family does a salad, have a small serving of that with light dressing. If you do not have salads then eat the green beans, asparagus or whatever you have and be sure to eat that FIRST. Pick the non-starchy over the starchy, if available. This will help you consume less total calories because you will begin to fill your belly with that first.
6. Pick out your favorites and have those. There is no need to put everything on your plate. There will always be another time that you can eat the other things. The more food on your plate, the more you will likely eat. If there is less food on your plate then you are already ahead of the game.
7. Use a salad plate so your plate appears full. Yes, we are using psychology with our Easter portions to avoid weight gain! If you use a bigger plate it will be too full- too much food. Your brain plays a huge role in satisfaction. If your plate appears full, your brain will signal your stomach that you are satisfied.
8. Put a small serving of any item, even your favs, on your plate. By small serving, I mean use a tablespoon instead of a regular serving spoon. It will probably appear laughable on your plate but if you are like me, you like 2nds. This way when you go for seconds you won't already be over-stuffed. (probably just slightly stuffed)
9. If you go back for seconds, make that plate smaller than your first plate. (Don't put as many items on your plate as the first round and avoid going back after that. This is going to take a lot of will power, I know, but you will be thankful!! I promise. You will still get the taste of your favorites and you will be more comfortable than usual - meaning your stomach won't be hurting as bad. Plus there will be less calories consumed ;)
10. Know when your cheats will be. In advance. Avoid eating all the leftover goodies (candy, etc) the rest of the month. Remember, Mother's Day is coming and there will likely be some form of food, treat or even alcohol then as well.
11. Sip your alcohol. Alcohol is a killer to the waist line then add the extra caloric intake and it is a double doozy. Let's be honest, some of us are NOT sippers. If you are one of them then you need to work harder during your workouts the rest of this week!! and the day of and probably the day after. Just sayin'.
It seems like holiday weight gain is inevitable but the reality is that we think that way because of programming. Our own programming and we just need to think a little bit differently by using smart tips to helps us out.
Today we struggle with obesity because of a variety of things. Less physical activity, abundance of food and an overall excess in unhealthy choices. Which, I might add, usually appeals more to us. I know that holiday weight gain is a reality and it is difficult with so much delicious food. I hope this blog will help avoid holiday weight gain and at the very least, *reduce* excessive holiday weight gain!!
Happy Easter!! and have a great day to those who celebrate something other than Easter!!
Linking up for WOW Wednesday!! Please join in the fun to meet great fitness people!