The holidays bring time with the family, which brings plenty of large family meals.
Combined with the colder temperatures, holiday eating can easily lead to a few extra pounds by the end of winter. But, you don’t want to have to skip out on your favorite holiday dishes and desserts.
So, what’s the harm in gaining a little weight in the winter? The problem is that most people never lose this weight.
This is the time of the year when people tend to pack on a few pounds, even if they maintain their weight the rest of the year. The average person gains about 2 pounds per year – most of this during the holidays.
It’s a slippery slope that leads to gradual weight gain over the course of many years. This makes it even more difficult to detect.
You realize you’ve put on a few pounds seemingly overnight. When this happens, the holiday meals could be to blame.
But, by preparing in advance, you can have your cake and eat it too.
It’s not going to be easy. Though, if you use these suggestions, you should be able to avoid holiday weight gain and not have to miss out on the dessert.
Don’t Skip Meals Before a Large Feast
The first tip is to make sure that you don’t skip any meals. This is a common tactic in the preparation for a big family feast.
You’ll avoid eating earlier in the day so that you can eat more of the family meal and the dessert that follows.
When you arrive feeling hungry, you’ll eat much more than you planned. Portion control goes out the window.
The better solution is to eat normally throughout the day. But, if you do happen to arrive at a large get together feeling hungry, you should drink a glass of water before eating. This will help curb your appetite and allow you to focus on portion control…
Pay Attention to Your Portions
When you place food on your plate, don’t fill the entire plate. You should have one or two scoops of each dish that you want to try. The main dish, if it’s a meat dish, should be about the size of your fist.
At the same time, it will help to pay attention to the order that you eat these portions. Filling up on carbs, especially starchy potatoes, will kill your appetite quickly.
So, you should start with veggies, fruit, and meat. This way, no matter how much or little you eat, you can make sure you get some nutrition.
Eat a Small Meal Before Attending a Party
Another option, similar to the first suggestion, is to eat a small meal before going to a party. You’ll be less tempted by the foods that are available, so you’ll have more time for socializing and hanging out.
You can arrive, nibble on some of the main dishes, and then enjoy the dessert. Though, this depends on the serving style.
If the food is served buffet-style, then it wouldn’t be rude to skip the meal and eat the dessert. But, if it’s a sit-down meal with family, then you’ll want to enjoy the main meal.
Spend More Time Talking and Less Time Chewing
During a large meal with a lot of guests, you have the perfect opportunity to distract yourself from eating. When you hold a conversation while trying to eat, you’ll end up eating less food.
You don’t want to be rude and talk with your mouth full, so you’ll naturally eat less. It’s a simple trick that helps take your mind off of the food and onto the real purpose of these get-togethers – being with friends and family.
Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
It’s also important to stay hydrated. This is something that you should practice all year round. As mentioned, drinking a glass of water before a meal can help curb your appetite. Though, it also provides other benefits.
Staying hydrated and drinking water aids digestion. It helps regulate body temperature and improves the transport of nutrients.
So, how much water should you drink? The recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses doesn’t account for other factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, a more realistic recommendation is to consume about 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men.
Limit Your Consumption of Alcohol
Another threat to your figure is the consumption of alcohol. Fattening spiked-eggnog and other holiday drinks can add a large number of calories. And, it can lead to reckless eating.
You don’t need to entirely avoid alcohol, but you should use moderation. Try drinking a glass of water between alcohol beverages. This will give you time to hydrate and burn through a portion of the previous drink before having your next.
Be More Selective with Your Dessert Choices
You also don’t need to avoid desserts. You just need to be selective with your choices. When you attend a holiday party, keep yourself from trying every dessert on the table. Limit your choices and stick with your favorites.
If you see a pie, cake, and other desserts on your table, you should choose one or two to try. Don’t over indulge.
Find Time to Exercise During the Holidays
With all the festivities and shopping, you might not have time to stick to a workout routine. But, you should try to squeeze in a little exercise whenever possible.
When you get home from the store, change into your workout clothes and perform a few exercises in the living room. Just a few minutes here and there can add up throughout the day – and counter some of the calories that you might consume later on.
The holidays shouldn’t get in the way of your health. Use some of these suggestions to avoid the holiday weight gain.
Remember to eat meals throughout the day. Pay attention to your portions and don’t fill up on carbs before getting your veggies and fruit.
The holidays can be stressful and they can be a lot of fun. Just because plenty of food is available doesn’t mean that you need to put on any extra pounds. Enjoy the holidays and don’t forget to stay hydrated.