The holidays are a great time to reconnect and celebrate with family and friends. This usually means get-togethers with drinks and big delicious feasts. Unfortunately these good times can take a toll on your weight. These delicious foods and overeating can put you well over your usual calorie consumption. This situation is made even worse if you are skipping your workouts. In the past I fell victim to this more times than I would like to admit. That is why I came up with a list of ways to enjoy the holidays while keeping the weight off:
Avoid skipping meals: Skipping a meal can easily lead to you overeating at the next one. We all know the situation. We are so hungry our napkin starts to look tempting to eat. Once you get to the buffet you load up your plate until nothing else can fit on it and you begin to mow down until not another ounce can fit in your body. I am not saying that you have to eat big full meals beforehand, just be sure to eat a little bit so that you can avoid that incredibly hungry feeling. Snacking on fruits and vegetables can help you with this.
Drink plenty of water: Drinking water can help to suppress your appetite leading to you eating less. This is because drinking water before and after meals will help you to feel more full for a longer period of time.
Avoid hors d'oeuvres: The pre meal finger foods can be almost addicting. Since you pick at them it can easily lead to you eating more than you anticipated. 1 prosciutto crostini can easily turn into 5 before you even realize it.
Take a look at everything that is being offered before filling up: Here is the scenario: you see something you like so you take a bunch of it. Then you see another thing you like so you take some more. You continue like this until you are at the end of the buffet where you quickly realize that you took more than anticipated. Instead of doing that, browse everything being offered first and then carefully pick and choose your amounts of each food.
Eat and chew slowly: When we eat our body goes through a signalling process that tells the brain that we have had enough to eat. This is done through a series of feedback loops and hormones between your stomach and your brain. When we consume food faster than our body is able to go through this signalling process. Due to this you will end up consuming more food than you actually needed, otherwise known as overeating.
Fill up on fibers: Foods that are high in fiber can also help to make you feel fuller faster and for a longer period of time. These foods include split peas, berries, artichokes, broccoli and avacados.
Deserts: Don’t pick at the deserts. Either pick one and that is it, or none at all. If you have a sweet tooth it is going to be extremely difficult to swear off deserts so you are probably better off just picking one.
Any exercise is better than no exercise: The holiday can be a hectic time that is why you have to make time to exercise because you will not find time to do so. Early in the morning is probably the best time to do so as you are likely to be preoccupied with something else later on and will not end up working out. If you are really strapped for time try exercises that are effective for burning calories. Activities such as jogging, and jumping rope do not require you to go to the gym and will have you exhausted in under an hour, possibly even less than half an hour if you really kick it into high gear.
Get an adequate amount of sleep: When your body is deprived of sleep it produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels and regulate metabolism. High cortisol levels will increase appetite and interferes with your body’s use of carbohydrates. With a proper amount of sleep you will feel better and feel less hungry helping you to keep the pounds off.
Do not eat while you watch T.V.: When you are watching T.V. you are distracted. Thus if you are eating while watching T.V. you are not going to be keeping track of how many chips, or chocolates that you have had. Even if you plan on not having any that giant bowl is going to be staring at you the entire time you are in front of the T.V. One is inevitably going to turn into two. Eventually you are not going to be able to not have one in your hand. Before you know it you will have polished off far more than you had originally anticipated.
Cut back on the alcohol: Alcoholic beverages do have a fair amount of calories in them. A glass of wine or a bottle of beer has about 140 calories in them. If you spend the whole night drinking, the calories will add up. Also after you have drunk a little too much it is very unlikely that you will be craving fruits and veggies. So not only have you piled on the calories from the booze, but the calories consumed after drinking can really hurt your weight maintenance goals.
If you really focus on these points and avoid falling into familiar tendencies then you should easily be able to maintain your weight through the next holiday season.