— By KATHY SMITH
You may have found that the Christmas, New Years and Kwanza holidays proved to be a challenge as there were too many temptations at the table. Some of these temptations might have lingered a little longer than you planned. Too many extras and too little physical activity might have caused to you add some extra pounds.
While it may be difficult to pass up the eggnog, fudge and peanut brittle, there are some helpful strategies that you can try that may help you to eat lighter now and continue into 2013.
• Eat an apple. An apple a day does more than keep the doctor away. Studies have found that a person eating an apple 15 minutes before a meal consumed nearly 190 fewer calories. There are similar results from consuming applesauce or apple juice.
• Eat soup. This can replace a meal or eaten prior to your meal to reduce hunger and increase the feeling of being full. A study shows people who ate soup before a meal consumed 100 fewer calories. The soup however, must be water based rather than cream or cheese. Remember that soup toppers such as sour cream or croutons add calories.
• Pace yourself. It is best to have your heavier meals earlier in the day. However, if you eat a larger meal in the evening eat lighter earlier in the day. Avoid skipping breakfast or lunch. Skipping a meal causes your body to starve for calories. This can often cause you to overeat to compensate. A better strategy is to pace yourself throughout the day to have a little less and then you can enjoy those extras later.
• Be picky. Avoid the foods that are available to you any time including nuts, crackers, cheese, candy and other processed foods. Spend your calories on fruits and vegetables that provide valuable nutrients and vitamins and less fats.
• Little bites. Go for little bites. Portion control is important to help you cut calories. Measure your food out at first to help you control your portions sizes. Using a salad plate instead of a full-sized plate also help you in controlling your portions. If you are eating out you can use your hand to help you measure: one thumb = 1 tablespoon, or 1 ounce of cheese; one palm = 3 ounces of meat; One fist = 8 ounces of liquid or 1 cup of solid food.
• Burn calories. Exercise is always a useful tool when you are looking to burn extra calories. Exercise is good for your heart, it helps your control your diabetes, reduces high blood pressure and reduces stress. If you already have an exercise routine, keep it up. If you are not exercising, get started doing something. Even if it is just moving around the house or office. Walking is a great exercise that doesn’t take a lot of effort. Start out small then increase your time to at least 30 minutes a day. Make it a goal to walk at least 30 minutes everyday.
• Push away. There is also the other form of exercise that’s easy but we often forget to do. Push yourself away from the table when you are finished eating. You may not be completely full, but if you allow yourself about 20 minutes you will feel the fullness. It you eat out or your are at a party stand across the room from the food table. Visit the buffet table or food table only once.
• Make yourself a priority. We tend to stay busy even after the holidays. We often forget to make ourselves a priority. If you put yourself first and try for a better healthier living, you will feel better and you will be on your way to losing those extra pounds that you may have gained.