You love the holiday season—until you step on the scale. Ho, ho…no! Overeating can balloon more than your weight. Your golf scores may suffer, too. Binging on Christmas cookies and eggnog causes a sluggishness that can hurt your swing, flexibility and focus. This year, just say no! And you don't have to go hungry. Just follow our expert's nutritional strategy, and you can indulge without the bulge.
MAKE SOME NEW RULES
Like shaking off a bad drive, break the binge cycle of Thanksgivings past. "Holiday binging can snowball," says Amy Bragg, a registered dietitian with the University of Alabama. It comes down to discipline. "Avoid the previous year's negative choices, as in "I won't automatically go for seconds this year." Write it down, and stick to it."
RISE AND SHINE
"Start the day with a good breakfast," Bragg says. "Maybe a couple of eggs, oatmeal or whole-wheat toast, fruit and coffee. This kick-starts your metabolism and fuels you for success later in the day." A too-light breakfast and a late lunch can make you crave that second (or third!) piece of pumpkin pie at dinner. "Try to keep a meal and snack pattern that's similar to any other day."
Try to build some extra activity into the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Play a round with your family, take a walk, do some yoga—anything structured that can help make this holiday different. But whatever you do, Bragg says, step one is to get out of the house, where all the food is. Encourage your family members to join you.
TAKE A BREATHER
You don't rush important putts, so why rush to the buffet? "Walk calmly to the food table," Bragg suggests. "Survey your options. Look for the one indulgent food you love, not five. Take a reasonable portion, and then build a balanced plate around it: some protein, fruits and veggies. And make sure to taste and savor your food. Enjoy it, don't inhale it!"
KNOCK OFF THE NOG
Says Bragg, "Alcohol may seem like a fun way to relax, but it adds a lot of empty calories, blunts your ability to detect physical hunger and can lead to binge-eating. Decide in advance how much you'll have—say, two drinks max at the office party—and stick to it."