The holidays can be a stressful time between buying gifts, booking trips and planning events. Adults in western societies gain an average of 1 pound during the holiday season and historically never drop that new weight upon entering the new year. Following that pattern, the holidays are easily a significant contributor to our annual weight gain.
Dieting around the holidays can seem impossible due to the seemingly constant holiday parties and potlucks, but we believe your willpower is stronger than you think. With enough focus on your long-term goals and a few tips from the experts, you can continue to lose weight, even during the holidays.
Practice portion control
Let’s face the facts: we are all guilty of overeating during a holiday party or two. With all the delicious food around, it’s easy to overindulge ourselves a little. The trick to avoiding that pants-unbuttoning fullness? Portion control.
Portion control is not impossible, but it does take strong willpower and the ability to prioritize. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t enjoy your favorite holiday dishes — we are saying you should only enjoy your absolute favorites. Don’t sample a little from every dish at the holiday potluck, but rather take an appropriate amount of your favorite dish.
Use small plates
Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs, and our plates often hold more food than we should eat. With big plates, we are likely to fill every inch of it with delicious food, sampling from every dish on the table. Using a smaller plate is a psychological tool to help you eat less and lose weight. Plate size correlates to portion size, so the smaller our plates, the fewer portions we take in.
Don’t go back for seconds
Using a smaller plate is a useless practice if you keep going back for seconds and thirds. Take only what you can eat on your first helping, and avoid going back for more because you think you are still hungry. In general, you should eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you feel full. A few minutes after finishing your first plate, you will notice your stomach feels satisfied.
Practice mindful eating
When you are eating, try to slow down and actually enjoy your food. Taste every bite as if it were the first time. Not only will this make your meal more enjoyable, but it will also slow your mind down and make you more aware of your body’s fullness signals.
Cut back on liquid calories
Between all the get-togethers and holiday parties, it is possible to drink more than our share of eggnog, soda, alcohol or other sugary drinks. Limiting our intake of liquid calories can help us cut out unnecessary weight gain.
We know desserts are a holiday staple, but their caloric value is often too high to justify. Enforcing a strict “no dessert” policy is sure to backfire, so we just ask that you limit your intake of sweets. Rather than trying a variety of cakes and pies, try splitting a slice of your favorite dessert with someone else.
Stay active with the family
Participating in sedentary activities seems to be a western tradition associated with the holiday season. Instead of piling up on the couch watching back-to-back films, get the family together for a walk or a friendly game of touch football. Staying active with the family during the holidays can help break up your traditional gym routine and encourage yourself and others to get moving.
Seeking a way to get in shape this holiday season? Call the experts at the Jay J. Garcia Centers for a fully customized weight loss plan designed to make you happy, healthy and full of energy! Book your no-cost consultation today!