It’s that time of year when the holiday weight gains are upon us, and for many people that means lots of overindulging. At Thanksgiving we put ourselves in a turkey and carbohydrate coma, and then do it over and over again for days with leftovers. At Christmas it’s always about the sweet treats: cookies, candy, cakes, pies, and warm creamy drinks. Finally, the first of the year hits and it’s, “Time to get back on the health wagon.” We’re all guilty of it, but why put ourselves in that position in the first place? I have some tips for you this holiday season that I plan on following myself. I hope you’ll join me.
You might be thinking what’s the harm in putting on a little extra weight over the holiday season? Well, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the problem is that most people won’t ever end up losing all of the extra pounds gained over the holidays. The next thing you know, several years later after gaining a couple extra holiday pounds each year, you’re ten pounds heavier than you used to be. Let’s avoid the overindulging and well-known after-effects by following some simple tips.
Don’t save up and arrive at the feast starving: Do not starve yourself all day before the big holiday meal so you can eat more later on. Instead, eat like you normally would throughout the day until it comes time to leave for the party. This will ensure that you don’t overeat in one sitting, which is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain.
Eat slowly to allow the feeling of satiety to kick in: It takes time for our bodies to release the hormones that cause the feeling of fullness or satiety. By eating slowly, you’ll give your body a chance to catch up to how much food it’s digesting, telling you that you’re now full. When you shovel food in as quickly as you can, your body can’t tell you that you’re full quick enough to keep you from overeating and feeling glutinous.
Use a small plate: Plate sizes have increased significantly over the years. By choosing a side plate instead of a traditional dinner plate, you’ll not only be forced to keep your portion sizes appropriate, but it will also keep you from making several trips up to the buffet (unless you have no shame of course).
Make water your drink of choice: You’re already going to be overindulging in lots of calorie dense foods, no need to add further extra calories by drinking an alcoholic or sugary beverage on top of it. Stick with water throughout the feast and you’ll save yourself an average of 500 calories. Water is also crucial for optimal digestive health.
Get physical before feasting: Exercise (particularly strength training) dramatically increases your metabolism throughout the rest of the day. Hit the gym the morning of the feast by lifting weights, and then go for a nice long walk after the meal. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you can consume without gaining weight!
I hope you join me in following these simple tips this holiday season to avoid the uncomfortable, glutinous feeling we all get after a day of overindulging. Happy Holidays and eat responsibly!
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