For those of us trying to keep weight off, food suddenly becomes the enemy during the holiday season—but it doesn’t have to be that way. These tips will keep you eating (read: mindfully) until New Year’s so you don’t have to worry about making yet another resolution.
Change your cheating mindset
The number of pounds the average person gains over the holidays is currently under debate (some studies suggest we get as much as seven to 10 pounds heavier, although one or two pounds is more realistic). What we can agree on is that it’s invariably thanks to the overly permissive attitude we adopt around this time of year. Treat the holiday period just like any other day in your healthy lifestyle—even if the presents make it hard to forget it’s not—to avoid the shock come New Year’s Day.
Plan out your meals
You’re not always going to have control over what’s being served up, so do some recon in the kitchen. If you don’t, you’re more likely to grab one of everything at the buffet, rather than what you really want and can stomach.
Savour your food
Talk and be merry with your folks—the slower you eat, the less likely you are to overindulge. Your brain can take almost half an hour to register that your stomach is full. Enjoying the taste of your food can give your head the time it needs to catch up.
Watch the liquid carbs
Each serving of booze contains roughly 100 calories (more than double that if you count sweet, creamy eggnog) and almost zero nutrients. Alcohol also impairs your judgement, which can also lead to unnecessary snackage. One or two glasses of wine with dinner won’t set you back too much; just be sure to put the bottle down once the table’s cleared and you won’t have to worry about extra calories.
Use snacking to your advantage
It’s nearly impossible to avoid snacks with all the Christmas cookies, candies and cakes being passed around. While we can’t recommend loading up on treats, if you absolutely have to indulge, have a bite of a high-protein snack an hour or so before a meal. You’ll end up eating less than if you were starving when the turkey hits the table.
Keep exercise short and intense
Working out for less amounts of time may actually benefit you over the eating season. High-intensity exercises boost your metabolism to keep your body burning calories all day. Since they focus on explosive movement with few breaks in between, these types of exercises also take very little time—perfect if you want to get a workout in before the house wakes up.
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