The holidays are upon us!
This is the true test for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Starting off the year having to make up for your overdoing it at the holiday table is not our idea of fun. In the Caribbean home, there are even more challenges as food is integral to socializing with workmates, family and friends to the point that we sing about it in our carols and parang songs.
Stay On Track and Don’t Look Back
Decide today to, at the very least, not gain weight over the next 2 weeks so that you maintain momentum into 2012 and are well on your way to looking your best for the carnival season in 2012. There are simple changes that you can make each day to balance the feasting that you will do at your office party, lime, or family gathering.
Start On the Right Foot
Make sure that you start every day with breakfast. You’ve heard this tip time and time again and that is because it is critical to preventing wide swings in your blood glucose, compensating for the fasting period during sleep, and avoiding the many pastry temptations that you may have in the morning. Great options include protein shakes, low-calorie peanut punch, freshly made smoothies, boiled eggs, salt fish and callaloo, bul jol, porridge and oat meal. Cassava and callaloo is a favorite combination in small portions that provides filling fiber and a green start to your day. Be careful when starting your day with only fruit or coffee. There will be a short spike in blood sugar that might cause you to indulge in decadent mid-morning snacks.
Get Active Anywhere
Sneak in physical activity whenever you can during your day to increase the energy your body uses and balance the energy you are consuming. There are the tried-and-true methods such as walks around your neighborhood, taking the steps around town, routines you can do at your desk, and little socamotion sessions during commercial breaks. Try to add just 10 minutes of activity more each day and see how you are able to fend off those holiday inches.
Reduce Your Drink Calories
Drinks are one of the easiest ways to cut calories at any time and seem to be a source that we are more conscious of. Aim to keep your drink calories below 60 by sticking to teas or coffee that are lightly sweetened with milk/honey/brown sugar/Stevia, coconut water, natural aloe juice, or water. Flavor your water with lemon, lime, cucumber, kiwi pulp or even licorish. Try hibiscus tea which tastes great warm or cold with little sweetening and can help actually lower your blood pressure.
Shrink A Meal
Choose 1 meal a day that you can shrink to a smoothie or fresh juice of vegetables and/or fruit. This a great way to control your intake for a meal and counteract the meals where you go beyond your normal intake. Choose the meal where you are usually the most busy and not as hungry which may be lunch for many people. Drink another glass of water with this meal to fill you up and make sure that it is not more than 3 hours until your next meal so that you do not sneak in another snack.
Keep It Green
Even with all of those goodies to choose from, you can still keep your plate full of green vegetables during the holidays. Instead of the usual half, you can splurge and reduce the portion to no less than a third. Make sure that the vegetables are green because carrots and sweet peppers actually contain significant amounts of sugar. Healthy portions of collard greens, broccoli, callaloo, dasheen or kale can help you feel full and still leave room to sample the foods you love.
Find out more about our Caribbean weight loss challenge and helpful tips on the SocaSLIMDOWN Facebook Page