‘Tis the season to overeat, and statistics show that many of us in the Western world will do just that. Most adults gain a pound or two between mid-November and mid-January. While this doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, a majority of people don’t lose the extra baggage, so over time, the holiday season may be one of the largest contributors to weight gain, says Healthline.
Here’s how you can enjoy holiday gatherings ― and the delicious food that’s served ― without packing on the pounds:
- Eat regular meals and snacks. Going to a holiday dinner starving can backfire, experts tell the Food Network. Saving your calories for a big feast leads to out-of-control eating. Dietitians recommend eating every three to four hours to keep blood sugar stable.
- Choose wisely before you fill your plate. Take a walk around the table, says Kara Hochreiter, a registered dietitian and founder of Byte Sized Nutrition. “You may come to find that the store-bought dessert sitting at the head of the table is actually one of the least appealing options available,” she says. Once you have made your decision on what to eat, choose larger portions of your favorites and bite-sized servings of the rest.
- Fill up on fiber. Lisa Lynn, a renowned fitness and nutrition expert, tells Newsmax that she serves or brings healthy munchies, such as carrot and celery sticks, to eat before the meal so by the time “splurge foods” appear, she has more control over the food, and “it’s not controlling me.”
- Gauge your FOMO. Often, we are drawn to particular foods because of the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, says Michele Redmond, a chef and dietitian. Redmond, of The Taste Workshop, says that “FOMO is often driven by strong social and emotional influences that can be countered by making plans to eat certain foods again.” For example, you can ask Aunt Becky to share her recipe for stuffing so you can make a plan to make it for your family at a later time, lessening the urge to overeat in the moment.
- Focus on friends and family. Tara Collingwood, a leading speaker and author, as well as a board-certified sports dietitian, tells Newsmax that she tries to focus more on people than just the food. “You are likely to be with people you don’t see often, or are in a social versus work setting with colleagues,” she says. “Take advantage to catch up socially with friends and family instead of just hanging out near the buffet table or waiting for dessert to be served.”
- Exercise. Schedule in regular family walks and activities, says Healthline, instead of sitting around and watching television. A walk after dinner will also help you digest as well as burn extra calories.
- Practice mindful eating. Studies show that people who are distracted when they eat tend to overindulge. Pay attention to your body’s fullness signals while chewing slowly and thoroughly. It’s also helpful to take a few deep breathes before eating to help you relax and keep your full attention on the plate.
- Get plenty of sleep. According to Healthline, sleep deprivation, which is common during the holiday season, can lead to weight gain. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be hungrier, leading to higher calorie intake. Also, lack of sleep tends to lower your metabolism so that you don’t burn calories as efficiently.
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