This year, my wife and I were fortunate enough to fly home to BC for Christmas, where we stayed with her parents. In planning for her baking, my mother in law wanted to know if there was any specific baking that I liked. Upon arriving home from work, my wife (Andrea) asked me and before the words were out of her mouth, I was screaming “SHORTBREAD!!!!”. I freaking love shortbread.
Now let me tell you about my mother in law. She loves baking and she is excellent at it. (Andrea totally inherited this skill from her, and I love her for it.) Anywho, at Christmas she bakes a large variety of things. She’s got multiple shortbreads, nut clusters, birds nest cookies, multiple biscotti, caramel popcorn, pepper nuts, various chocolate barks, and probably some other things as well. It’s all delicious, it’s all to die for, and it’s totally the kinds of things that you can gain plenty of weight on if you aren’t careful.
I ate all of it in our time there, in addition to delicious full meals, classic turkey dinner, desserts, etc. But do you want to know the best part?
I lost 7 pounds this past Christmas.
Now I’m not going to bore you with statistics, because I’m sure that you’ve all heard that people usually gain weight over the holidays, to the tune of a pound or so each year. The problem with this weight, is that it doesn’t go away! If you are putting on 1 or 2 pounds every Christmas and that weight never comes off throughout the rest of the year, eventually you are going to find yourself quite a bit heavier. Now don’t freak out yet. I’m here to tell you that it is completely possible to enjoy your winter holiday food, and still lose weight.
1. Eat multiple snacks per day!
I had probably 4 or so snacks throughout each day, and each time, I just kept it to one item. Don’t grab a huge handful of cookies when you go for a snack! That’ll make you overeat in no time.
2. Make sure the snacks are small.
One thing I really appreciated about my mother in law’s baking is that she makes everything nice and small so that you can nibble at more than just one massive cookie. I was so happy to see that every item was small, because that means I don’t have to worry as much when it comes to my next point…
3. Budget your calories accordingly.
I have absolutely no idea how many calories were in all those snacks. I mean sure, I could ask for the recipes, but who wants to spend their entire vacation entering in all the nutritional values of someone else’s baking? Seems like a waste of my time off work, that’s for sure! But I did know what was in all my main meals, so with the snacks all I did was enter in a higher calorie cookie that Andrea makes somewhat regularly. So I knew whatever I was eating had to be lower than that, and that gave me a good estimate to figure out the rest of my day with.
4. Keep up your activity level.
Over the holidays if you’re lucky, you’ll have some time off work. Maybe you’ll skip the gym a few times because it’s Christmas. That’s fine, we all need a break sometimes. But don’t stop completely. Get out and go for a walk when you see some sunshine. Make the most of any good weather you have. If you’re shopping for gifts, make sure to park on the far end of the parking lot and take stairs instead of escalators. Better yet, walk to the stores/mall if you can. Make small efforts to keep up whatever activity level you would normally have.
Just because you need to lose some weight, doesn’t mean that you have to punish yourself and ignore all the special delicious goodies that only come out for Christmas. Like I said, I ate everything and still lost 7 pounds. I hope this helps in the future to have wonderful, delicious, and healthy holidays.