Before we being, let’s preface this article by saying that this is not an anti-fun post. We are all for some well-deserved self-indulgence over the Christmas season. However, much like the approach we recommend for keeping an eye on your budget while you do Christmas shopping, we think it’s a good idea to maintain a little food-related restraint to avoid misery come January.
With that said, let’s be honest: the holidays and fattening food go hand-in-hand. If you’re in the USA, you’ll know Thanksgiving and the leftovers alone can last a week. Then it’s only a few more weeks until Christmas. New Year’s events are the following week … phew!
Studies show that 75% of the average individual’s annual weight gain happens between Thanksgiving and the new year. Why not make this the year that you avoid holiday weight gain while still having fun? Try a few of these tips for size:
Tip 1: Eat a healthy meal before attending events
This doesn’t apply to Christmas Day (or Thanksgiving Day); on these special days, it makes sense to let loose. After all, a single day won’t permanently expand your waistline. For all other holiday parties, eat a healthy, satisfying meal before you attend. If your stomach is already full of good food, you’ll be less likely to fill up on junk while you’re there.
Tip 2: Offer a delicious and healthy side dish
Many hosts encourage guests to bring a dish to share. If this is the case, make your offering something that is both delicious and healthy. This way you can limit your consumption of unhealthier options and enjoy the gathering at the same time.
Tip 3: Wait 30 minutes before having seconds
Your first meal may have been enough to make you full but your body just hasn’t registered the information yet. Thirty minutes is plenty of time for your brain to inform you that you’re full. Have a nice chat with your friends or family before re-filling your plate.
Tip 4: Focus on the people, not the food
When attending a party, spend your time and attention on the other attendees. Mingle, dance, and have a good time!
Tip 5: Eat slowly
The easiest way to overeat is to eat too quickly. Chew your food slowly and completely. Talk between bites. Drink plenty of water with your meals. Take your time and taste the food. This way, you’ll realise you’re full before you become uncomfortable.
Tip 6: Maintain your normal diet and exercise routine
This one is essential. While an occasional lapse won’t do any damage, it’s surprisingly easy to let good habits slip if you avoid them for too long. As far as exercise is concerned, it’s also much harder to get started again, both psychologically and physically, if you take too large a break.
The best solution is to avoid deviating from your routine in the first place. Furthermore, if you’re considering beginning an exercise program for the New Year, why wait? There’s no time like the present to make your health a priority.
Tip 7: Don’t ignore the salad
Whether you’re eating at home or attending a party, fill half your plate with salad before adding the rest of the food. Remember to take it easy on the salad dressing.
Tip 8: Add a daily walk to your routine
Get the entire family together for a daily walk or use the time alone for a little gentle exercise and me-time. You’ll burn a few calories, keep your blood sugar under control, and reduce your appetite. You’ll also get to connect with your local area and the Great Outdoors, which can be magical during winter. Simply keep the pace enjoyable and you’ll find you look forward to your daily walk.
It’s easier to avoid gaining unwanted weight in the first place than it is to lose it. Enjoy your friends and family during the holiday season. Simply remember that excessive eating isn’t a prerequisite to having a good time. Instead, focus on making healthy choices and employing moderation. It’s all about balance. Remember, you can avoid holiday weight gain by making a few small, smart decisions!