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How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain Without Depriving Yourself of the Goodies

posted: 10/31/17
by: Katie Morton
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Celebrating during the holidays means decadent meals, late-night parties, and popping some corks. The merry-making can be enough to make you throw up your hands and reach for your stretchy pants. With some pro tips and a little planning, you can curb that sneaky holiday weight creep. Read on for how to stay on a healthy track during this holiday season--with minimal deprivation.

1. Eat Before You Party

Some people think that if they have a big event later in the evening, then it's best to save all their calories for that event. The problem with this tactic is that it may lead you to binge eat later because you're starved.

 

Pros advise filling up with a healthy, small meal before an event: Think lean protein, complex carbs, and a fibrous veggie. This combo will give you pre-bash energy and keep you full all night. When you arrive at the party, you need not deprive yourself of the bounty. Simply pick a few sweet or savory treats to taste and nibble rather than gorge.

2. Slow Down, Breathe, and Savor

It's a fact that slowing down the pace of eating allows our body to more clearly communicate when it's reached it's satiated point. By savoring each bite, you are more likely to stop eating when you're actually full. Try to put your fork down between each bite. Take a sip of water or join the conversation. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that you are full much sooner than usual when you consciously slow down.

3. Offer to Contribute to the Holiday Meal

If the idea of Grandma's butter-drenched mashed potatoes or Aunt Edna's turducken has you loosening your belt, then you may want to offer to bring a healthier dish to contribute to the meal. A fresh green salad, roasted cauliflower, or a veggie casserole are all healthy, welcome additions to add to the buffet table.

4. Stay Well Hydrated

Did you know that often times the feeling of hunger can be caused by dehydration? Salty food and alcohol both contribute to dehydration, so it's important to drink water throughout the holiday season. Staying hydrated won't only help you feel full, it can also help you limit your booze intake and avoid that dreaded post-celebration headache. Keep a full bottle of water in your bag or tote to make it easier to hydrate on the go.

5. Push the Protein

Foods that are dense in protein help signal to our bodies that we're full. Protein can also keep our blood sugar level steadier than carb-rich diets can. Reach for lean chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, beans, or lentils for a protein-rich boost when you're hungry.

6. Make Time for Shut Eye

Did you know that hitting the hay can help you keep the pounds off? It's true! Poor sleep habits have been linked to weight gain and increased appetites. Make enough time for sleep and your body will be better able to function. If you're tossing and turning, here are our tips for how to get your best night's sleep!

7. Drink Responsibly

Be wary of drinking your calories--alcohol can be very calorie-rich. In fact, certain cocktails or holiday libations are calorie bombs (I'm looking at you, eggnog)! That's not to say that you can't raise a glass for the holiday toast, but you should give some thought to your festive beverage of choice. Wine is a relatively low-calorie option for holiday fun. If you want, you can even add sparkling water to your wine to make an even lower calorie, refreshing spritzer.

With our tips and strategies, you can prevent that dreaded holiday weight creep. Remind yourself that the holidays are a time for fun and celebration with your family and friends, so don't be too hard on yourself if you have a bad day. Just try to get back on track the following day. We are wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season!