Health

Stop seasonal pounds

8 tricks to let you live it up during the holidays and then ring in the new year without adding "lose weight" to your list of resolutions

Being prepared

Last year You thought that party preparation applied only to your hair, clothes and makeup.

This year Plan for naughty eating, too.

Eat healthy meals with adequate protein before an event to prepare for the enticing holiday treats you can’t live without. That way, you can limit yourself to enjoying some of your favourite foods without indulging in a lot of excess calories, explains Louise Lambert-Lagacé, a registered dietitian in Montreal and co-author of Good Fat, Bad Fat (Stoddart). Or, try one of these stay-strong approaches:

Try a “special” diet. If you just have to taste Mom’s pecan pie, skip the extra helping of mashed potatoes, get off the gravy train and don’t overdo it on the stuffing.
Don’t starve and binge. Snacking on a handful of unsalted almonds or plain yogurt before parties will help you avoid overeating. Besides, a recent study from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Maine, links eating frequent meals to a lower risk of obesity, compared with delaying or skipping meals.
Keep food out of sight, out of mouth. Walk away from the cocktail weenies and hand out doggy bags after your own event to get rid of tempting leftovers.

Handling hormones

Last year PMS sent your holiday healthy-eating plans packing.

This year Don’t let your hormones tell you what to eat.

You’re already surrounded by chocolate and eggnog. But premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes you even more vulnerable to their tasty charms because increased stress and mood swings can contribute to overeating (see Five ways to beat holiday stress, below). Use these tips to stop cravings when your hormones are out of control:

Boost low serotonin levels with comfort foods (no, not chocolate and chips). Whole wheat toast will raise your levels of serotonin, the “happy” brain chemical, says Dr. Sue Douglas, a researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Keep your blood sugar steady. Mid-cycle hormonal changes make blood sugar levels fall and sweet cravings soar, says Dr. Susan Lark, author of PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome Self Help Book (Celestial). So, eat small frequent meals instead of three square ones.
Beat the bloat. If the cocktail dress fits, it’s probably because you steered clear of hidden salt in crackers, olives and dips. Salt contributes to water retention, the principal cause of PMS pounds.