The holidays are synonymous with friends, family and food, and while food is something that has always brought people together, it can also wreak havoc on your waistline.
People notoriously overindulge during the holidays, so how can you avoid this ongoing cycle and skip the holiday weight gain altogether?
People think they shouldn’t eat before a holiday party. However, it’s never a good idea to skip meals because it puts your body in starvation mode and will actually store more calories. In turn, you’ll likely eat more food overall.
A good way to avoid over-indulging is to eat the way you normally would and then attend the party and consider that your dinner. This way, you can eat as though it was your regular meal. Make sure you get back to your regular routine the next day and get some physical activity.
Because of sheer volume of food that is available, over a few hours, you can lose track of how many bits and nibbles you’ve eaten. A good way to avoid this is to get a plate fill it with the amount of food you would your regular meal. This visual practice will help you to keep portions at a reasonable size and not overeat.
One of the easiest ways to keep your food intake reasonable is to avoid foods with a lot of dips and sauces or foods that are deep fried and full of cheese. Whether you’re attending a dinner, buffet or canapé evening, going for the fresh, non-processed foods will keep you eating healthy foods and filling up on good calories.
Alcoholic drinks have a lot of calories, but you don’t need to have the sweetest sugary drink that can be over 500 calories. Instead, opt for clean liquors like vodka or gin, or a couple glasses of wine. Set a limit and stick to it, and don’t forget to drink lots of water in between eating and drinking. This will keep you hydrated and also from eating when you are actually thirsty.
Another tip is to focus on something other than food. Yes food is generally abundant at any party - but it isn't THE party. Mingle and chat with friends or make new friends. Dancing is a great diversion. It is hard to eat while out on the dance floor and you will be burning some of those calories.
There are also ways to up your exercise during the holidays, specifically walking. Going shopping? Don't drive around looking for the closest spot. Park at the back of the lot and walk. Or, start a family walk after dinner to look at the houses decorated in your neighbourhood.
These are just a few ways to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. If you resist over-indulging, practice portion control and keep your physical activity routine, you should come out of it unscathed.