During the holidays you will be doing a lot of eating. Whether you are attending a potluck, a get-together with high school friends, or it’s a holiday meal with the family, there is a reason that people call gaining weight during this time of year the “holiday hundred.” Don’t bring in the new year with regrets (and needing to buy bigger pairs of jeans). Here are some tips on how not to gain the holiday hundred.
Do not go to parties/meals famished. Try to eat before a big meal, even if you just have a snack. Going to a party or a big meal on an empty stomach could cause you to over-eat. Eating a little over time will also keep you from becoming impatient while food is almost done, because your blood sugar will not be too low.
Drink water. Sometimes when you think you are hungry, you might just be dehydrated. Drinking more water can help to prevent overeating and benefit weight loss because it makes your metabolism burn calories 3% faster. Many beverages contain high amounts of sugar, fats, and calories, and very little water. Since you are going to be eating lots of desserts, casseroles, and treats, cut back on those extra calories by having a glass of water.
Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is pretty high in calories. If you must drink, try to sip at your beer over time rather than downing it. You could also choose diet-friendly drinks such as wine (Zifandel White Wine contains 100 calories per 5-oz serving) or liquor with calorie-free mixers like diet soda.
Watch your portions. With all the different types of food at potlucks, parties, and holiday meals, there is no way you can eat a full portion of everything. Sometimes a little taste is all you need, and then get bigger portions of your favorites. Doing this ensures you got to eat your favorite holiday treats and you got to try new things. You also get a chance to know whether or not you’d like to try a dish again with just a sample of it, rather than wasting half a plate of a dish you weren’t fond of.
Eat slowly and socialize. Enjoy the company, don’t hover over the food. When I socialize during a meal, I almost forget about all the food on my plate. Enjoy your food, but try to make lasting memories rather than focusing on filling your stomach. Eating slowly also makes you feel fuller, faster, and you will actually savor the food you are eating. Try to forgo the mentality that this is your last meal, and honor your true feelings of hunger. Ask yourself if you are actually hungry, or just eating because you want to. Don’t waste calories on something you might not even want to eat.
Go for a walk. Taking a walk around the neighborhood with a family member or friend gives you time to catch up, and to walk off that piece of pumpkin cheesecake. Stay active over the holidays. I know that I would rather snuggle up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer than face the bone-chilling cold outside. So I play with my dog or break out the Dance Dance Revolution game my friends and I used to play. Look for ways to stay active, rather than just eating and sleeping.
Re-gift treats. Take leftover treats such as cookies and candy to potlucks or parties. If you feel bad about doing that, take them to your suite in your dorm! Just because you were given all those sweets does not mean you have to eat all of them.
Try to implement these tips into your holiday season and you may just fit into those new jeans your mother buys you for Christmas… rather than spending the next few weeks trying to fit in time to go to the gym.