Instead of indulging in all the temptation that engulfs us during the holiday season, try following these 5 easy tips to avoid packing on the pounds this year.
Eat Before You Leave
This sounds counter-intuitive, but by filling up on healthier snacks before you leave for a dinner party, you will be much less likely to overeat while you are out. It is never a good idea to starve yourself all day, when you know you have a big dinner that night. Instead, eat small, well-balanced meals as you normally would. Before you get ready to party, snack on some raw vegetables, nuts, seeds or yogurt, and you will be less tempted to eat mindlessly at dinnertime. You will also be much less likely to indulge at the dessert table if you are already full from healthier choices beforehand.
Research has proven that by drinking more water, you are not only keeping yourself feeling more full, but you are also eliminating sugar cravings naturally. Having a glass of water before meals is proven to help with weight management. Alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar and not the best choice for keeping your health on track, at any time of year. If you drink an alcoholic beverage at dinner time, follow that with a glass of water and you will be less likely to crave a second drink. You will also keep yourself better hydrated in the process.
Mindless eating, which is what happens while you are snacking and being distracted by something else, is one of the biggest culprits of holiday weight gain. How many times do you stand by the appetizers at a party, chatting away to someone else, while nibbling on several varieties? Pay attention to what you are eating and give yourself a limit, then walk away. Choosing a smaller appetizer and/or dinner plate will also help to keep your mindfulness in check. And try to avoid a second helping.
Cheat on Yourself
You read that right! Science has proven that by allowing yourself small indulgences, you are more likely to stay on track with healthy eating than if you deprive yourself. It is best not to allow yourself one big cheat day, but to allow yourself the occasional treat throughout the holidays. Even weight loss programs like Weight Watchers allow for portion-controlled treats on occasion. Savor these cheat foods, eating slowly and enjoying the moment. Remain mindful of how much you are eating and how often, but if handled with care, this is a much healthier practice and will likely prevent all-out holiday binging!
This last one is much easier said than done, especially through an ever-busy holiday season, but if you make the effort, your body will thank you. Exercise does not have to be a big production when time is tight. Simple things, like parking far away from the door at the mall or grocery store and forcing yourself to walk more, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can make a positive difference. There are always ways in which you can make exercise a part of your day, with minimal effort. Stretch during the commercials of your favorite TV shows, extend your dog’s walk by 10 minutes or play a game of tag with your children. You don’t need an hour at the gym if your schedule is already full. Just make time to be active and remain mindful of the healthy balance between what you are eating and how much you are moving.
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