Have you been invited to several holiday parties, but afraid to go and enjoy yourself for fear of indulging and gaining weight? The holiday season is a challenge for everyone, even those with superhuman willpower. During the holidays most people would like to swan-dive into the eggnog and send their sensible routine into hibernation until January. But, we all know excess pounds don’t go away with the decorations.
And according to researchers at the National Institutes of health, most Americans never lose the weight they put on over the holidays, which adds up year after year, causing holiday weight gain to be an important factor in adult obesity. Don’t let this information get you feeling depressed and think there’s no hope. I promise there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can still attend your businesses Christmas party and enjoy the good food. I’ve done the research for you and determined the 10 simple steps to help you to avoid gaining weight over the holidays.
- Never “save” your appetite before going to a party or sitting down to a holiday meal. Arriving starving will only lead to eating more.
- Pick foods high in protein and fiber. Protein helps to maintain a healthier weight and fiber keeps you fuller longer.
- Chew and eat slowly to allow the body time to register when it is full and to prevent bloating from swallowing too much air.
- Choose smaller plates. Our brains actually associates big white space on a plate with less food, so naturally we fill the plate and smaller plates require less food to fill the white space.
- Say NO to the white stuff. The white stuff i.e. white bread and refined sugars (candy and soda) are simple carbs. While some simple carbs are good for us (such as fruits and low fat dairy products), the body breaks simple carbs down quicker than the more complex kind, creating a spike in blood sugar that causes us to feel hungrier faster. Stick to wholegrains and healthier proteins.
- Cave in to cravings. It’s wise to allow yourself to cave to a craving, but do so in moderation. This should help with the desire to go at it like a kid in a candy store. Restricting a food or a food group during the holidays will only make you want it that much more.
- Increase water intake. Drinking water helps us to feel full, which results in consuming fewer calories. Try drinking water all day and treating yourself to a glass of wine at dinner instead of guzzling down high calorie and sugar filled juices and sodas that are associated with increased body fat, increased blood sugar and increased blood pressure.
- It’s very important to de-stress! Yes, the holiday season is supposed to be the season of cheer, but let’s face it, it can also be very stressful. And unfortunately the stress can lead to increased eating and cravings for sugary carbohydrates. Try to reduce stress with exercise, warm baths, black tea, getting a massage, meditation, yoga, etc.
- Get some sleep. I bet you had no idea that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain. That’s right folks; sleep deprivation is associated with changes in appetite. It’s also good to practice good sleep hygiene, such as turning off all electronics in your bedroom and steering clear of eating high-fat foods and drinking caffeinated beverages at night.
- Avoid leftovers! Enjoy yourself, then send guests home with food-filled Tupperware. The leftovers will do you in, so get them out of sight and out of mind.
I hope these simple steps help you and yours enjoy the holidays and the yummy foods, keeping you mindful to prevent the added pounds from packing on. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
AUTHOR: Keely Sears
I have been a Family Nurse Practitioner for 8 years, working in Internal Medicine for 5 years. During this time, I diagnosed and treated many patients with job-related conditions. Currently, I am taking a break from my profession to raise our 4 children, and am using this time to share information, via blogs, regarding how to prevent and treat work-related illnesses/conditions without medications.
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