It’s officially December, which means it’s the season of cookies, cakes, and every baked good you can imagine. But, that also means it’s the season of annoying holiday weight gain. Holiday weight gain is a very real thing- I mean, it’s hard not to when you’re surrounded by loads of delicious goodies all winter long.
And although adding a few extra pounds during the holidays can feel inevitable, it’s also avoidable- and can be done without avoiding delicious baked goods altogether. If you’re looking to stay your same weight this holiday season, here are a few ways you can prevent that weight gain:
Eat before a party
Eating before a party might sound like it makes no sense, but it’s a great way to avoid weight gain. Holiday parties are usually stocked full of delicious, yet typically unhealthy foods, and arriving at a party starving means you’re going to eat. A lot. So try to eat a small, healthy meal before a party, so you don’t binge when you get there.
As a chronic fast-eater myself, slow eating is something I have yet to master. But the key to eating less, especially in settings with tons of food, is to pace yourself and eat slowly. Sometimes eating at a social gathering can feel like a competition of who can get to what the quickest- but remember that it’s not and eat slowly.
If you would rather get your calories in from eating, then it’s essential to limit your alcohol intake during the holiday season. Festive drinks, although delicious and fun, can get super high in calories. Drinking and eating often go hand in hand, too, so the more you drink, the more likely you are to be found devouring a whole box of cookies.
Use small plates
Tell yourself this over and over again this holiday season: your eyes are bigger than your stomach! You might THINK you can eat three whole pieces of pie and a brownie for dessert, and although you might be able to since it’s sitting in front of you, all that food isn’t necessary. Use a small plate to gauge your portion size and remember: your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
Eat veggies with every meal
Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and bread are all super tempting and should be eaten during the holidays, but they should be paired with a fresh salad and veggies. With every carb, eat a vegetable. That way, you still get to enjoy the delicious carbs, but the veggies cancel it out. Or at least we can tell ourselves they do.
The holidays can undoubtedly be stressful. And stress leads to stress eating. And stress eating leads to stuffing your face with half an entire cake. Yeah- so try to avoid extra stress during the holidays, and you might find that you avoid those extra pounds, too.
Wait before seconds
Maybe the first plate was so good you’re already thinking about the second before you even finish. Food during the holidays is fantastic, but before reaching for your second plate, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. If you are, then go for it. But if it’s just a result of boredom or the food just being all that good, consider letting your stomach sit and leaving with one plate.
Saying no to baked goods? It’s difficult- but it’s possible. However tempted you might be to say yes every time someone offers you a piece of pie during the holidays, don’t hold back from saying no. Treating yourself is necessary, but overeating is not.
I don’t know about you, but when my fridge is full of leftovers, those are usually my go-to snack. Except that’s not the best idea when the leftovers consist of cheese, pasta, and desserts. Limit your calorie intake with snacking so you can save room in your stomach for actual meals.
Eat with others
Sometimes, the best way to avoid overeating is just by eating with others. When you eat a meal, turn off the TV, shut off the laptop, and put away your cellphone. Spend your time eating with friends and family, and not only will it be more enjoyable, but you might also find yourself eating way less when you’re occupied with loved ones.