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How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

holiday food

The holidays are coming, one of the most exciting (and potentially stressing) times of the year! This is a time when normal scheduling flies out the window and most people are just trying to have a good time. Unfortunately for many of us, there comes a time (usually in about early January) when we step on the scale and realize we’ve gained a few extra pounds and we have no idea why. To prevent this extra weight gain, it’s essential to also understand what causes it.

Halt Overeating: Many people are encouraged to eat much more food than normal during the holidays. All of the parties and get-togethers where people sit around a large table for hours leaves us little else to do but eat! Some people even skip a meal beforehand to make ‘extra room’. This is a terrible idea. It confuses your metabolism and makes you less likely to work off the extra food you consumed.

Here are a few tips to prevent overeating.

1.       Never skip a meal before or after a large get-together. This will encourage you to eat the correct amount and no more than that.

2.       Do your best to stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not when you are full. There is a very big difference.

3.       Eat slowly. Your stomach needs over fifteen minutes to communicate with your brain that it is full and doesn’t want to eat anymore. Eating slowly ensures that you give your brain the time it needs to realize its fullness.

4.       Give yourself small rations when you make your plate. Use a smaller plate if it encourages you to eat less. While you are getting your food, constantly ask yourself, “How much should I really eat?” If you feel you need to sample everything, get smaller portions of each thing rather than forcing yourself to overeat.

5.       Don’t be ashamed of leaving food on your plate. Eating it just because it would be a ‘waste’ if you didn’t is counter-intuitive; if you are already full, eating it would be a waste anyway since you are no longer hungry.

Buy Better Foods: When doing your holiday shopping, choose versions of the same food you love that are better for you and your guests. Many people throw their dietary rules out the window when shopping during the holidays. Don’t do this! There are plenty alternatives to the food we love that taste great and are much less packed with sugar and fat.

Lower the Quantity: When shopping for the holidays, be sure to take into account just how many guests you will have and how much food they will eat. Buying the least amount of food possible not only encourages people not to overeat at your place (for which their body will surely thank you), but it also leaves less food for you to feel pressured to eat after everyone’s gone.

Stay Active: Starting or maintaining a diet during the holidays is a very hard thing to manage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be somewhat active anyway! Going for walks once in a while, especially around the holidays, could really help you keep the extra calories you are consuming at bay. Why not choose an activity connected to the holidays? Making a specific activity a habit around the same time of year will combat the extra weight gain each and every time. Going skiing, snowboarding, hiking or sledding can be a great family activity to keep everyone happy and healthy during the less-active months of the year.

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