A to Z of Healthy Holiday Habits

Your weight loss cure for the holidays - A to Z of healthy holiday habits.

model in gray top sipping a drink from a straw
model in gray top sipping a drink from a straw
(Image credit: Taghi Naderzad)

A - Alcohol
B - Breakfast
C - Chew Slowly
D - The Day After
E - Exercise
F - Fasting
G - Go Organic
H - Honey
I - Interrupt Yourself
J - Joke Around
K - Keep Your Hands Busy
L - Leftovers
M - Massage Your Ears
N - No, No, No!
O - Outfit
P - Pre-Party Snacks
Q - Quit Coffee
R - Go Raw
S - Sex
T - Tea
U - Under-Serve
V - Veer Away From The Table
W - Walk It Off
X - No Xcuses
Y - Yoga
Z - Zzzs

The holidays should be about friends, family, and a healthy portion of pumpkin pie, not guilt over gaining weight. Dr. Grigory Sadkhin, weight loss expert and founder of The Sadkhin Complex, shared with us a few ways to go from Thanksgiving through New Years without gaining a pound (or a guilty conscience).

It may be the social lubricant of choice for awkward family or work events, but alcohol is rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Skip sweet cocktails and go for champagne, dry wine, or drinks straight up.

Instead of buying a cinnamon roll on the way to work, wait until 11 a.m. to eat a healthier alternative (like an apple). According to Dr. Sadkhin, this is when your body is first able to digest properly.

When you've got a table full of delicious (but rich) foods, ward off overeating and aid digestion by taking smaller bites of food and chewing slowly. Try to chew 25 to 30 times before swallowing.

So you ate a few too many helpings of stuffing or knocked back more cups of eggnog than you planned — don't worry, it's not the end of the world. The next day, try to eat your first meal as late as possible (wait until noon, at the earliest) so that your digestive system has time to recover from your holiday feast.

While exercise is important year round, during the holiday it's best to do it in the morning so that you won't feel hungry at night. If your busy schedule won't allow for a morning run, opt for a static activity in the evening, like yoga or pilates.

Avoid overeating by fasting the day of a big event. This will help cleanse your system and curb hunger, but it doesn't mean go hungry; you can drink as much water, seltzer, and tea as you need, and should eat a small snack before heading out.

Skip cranberry sauce from the can and go for the fresh and organic alternative. "Use as few canned products as possible," urges Dr. Sadkhin. If you're hosting an event, make sure that your turkey or chicken is free-range.

Resist the urge to dump sugar in your coffee or tea and go with honey instead. Not only is it easier to digest, but honey also goes perfectly with apple pie and roasted pears. "I love honey," declares Dr. Sadkhin. "It will help you feel satisfied for longer."

Whether it's a bathroom trip or a lip-gloss touch-up break taking a breather from eating will help your body digest better and make you feel full sooner.

"Joke, talk and laugh more during food intake," suggests Dr. Sadkhin. "Happy conversations during dinner will get you eating less but feeling just as satisfied."

Finally, an excuse to hold onto that wine glass all night long. If you're clutching a cup you won't be able to carry a plate at the same time.

The thought of free food for a week may be tempting, but taking home leftovers is more trouble than it's worth. Food loses its nutritional value with time and it takes up too much space — both in the fridge and in your stomach.

Get your digestive system going before you even start eating by giving your earlobes a quick thirty-second rub. It will this stimulate the brain, relieve stress, and lower your appetite, all while sitting at the table!

Enjoy the foods that you love (hello eggnog) by giving up the foods that you don't need. Stay away from particularly harmful and unsavory foods, like bread, pasta, coffee, beer and anything that comes from a can. Balance indulgences with a hearty helping of fruits and vegetables.

Who knew that a cute dress and sexy underwear could help you stay healthy? According to Dr. Sadkhin, wearing tight or body-conforming clothing will make you feel fuller quicker because of the slight pressure it puts on your stomach.

While Dr. Sadkhin suggests fasting the day before a party, you shouldn't go hungry. "Remember to eat a small but satisfying meal before you go to the party." Apples or yogurt are both good options.

Not only does that daily Starbucks suck money from your wallet, it also has no nutritional value and makes your insulin levels go crazy. If you need a shot of caffeine to help you through dinner with aunt Edna, try a healthier alternative, like green tea.

When filling your plate with feast-worthy foods, include as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. "They'll help stimulate the digestive system and improve absorption while promoting proper organ function," says Dr. Sadkhin. Raw foods are also often richer in vitamins and minerals than anything cooked.

Nothing says holiday cheer like an early-morning romp. Sex in the morning is a great substitute for exercise and will help relieve holiday-related stress.

Go from black coffee to green tea during the holidays. It helps you with pre-event fasting, decreases your insulin levels (which, in turn, promotes weight loss), and gives you a much-needed jolt of caffeine.

Prevent out of control eating by under-serving yourself. One way to do this is by eating off of a smaller plate, which helps with portion-control. Another way is by trying a couple different types of foods. Digging into whatever is placed in front of you usually leads to overeating, whereas sampling allows you to enjoy a more satisfying range of flavors and will fill you up faster.

Standing next to the dessert table at your office holiday party means that you'll be thinking about dessert. And if you're thinking about dessert, you'll probably start eating (and then overeating) dessert. Instead, station yourself as far as possible from any tempting food spreads.

While a quick cab ride home may sound tempting after a holiday dinner, opt for a leisurely walk instead. Even if you're just walking to your car, this quick bit of exercise helps to get your digestive juices flowing without affecting your sleep habits.

Just because it's the holidays doesn't mean that you should throw your healthy eating habits out the window. Approach every chocolate Santa or slice of pumpkin pie as you normally would during the year.

The holidays are as much about stress as they are about indulgence. Yoga helps you get both under control by relieving stress and decreasing feelings of hunger in the evening. Try relaxing and breathing exercises after 6 p.m., when your body enters its rest zone.

Getting enough sleep during the holidays is tough, but don't let rest go to the wayside. Enforcing a nightly bedtime not only gives you an excuse to leave the office karaoke party early, but also ensures that you'll be getting enough sleep throughout the season. Dr. Sadkhin recommends aiming for 10 p.m. during the winter, pointing out that your body makes up for a lack of sleep by overeating.