Holidays are that time of the year when everyone is ready to let go and have a good time, and food and drink are a major part of any festive celebration. For those who’ve been trying to lose weight all year, however, the festivities can bring along the dread of their weight-loss goals going astray.
If you’re contemplating skipping the revelries altogether just so you can avoid all the eating and drinking, you need not deprive yourself a relaxing break just for this reason. Here are seven tips to help you have a good time with family and friends without the fear of gaining unwanted pounds.
Don’t leave healthy eating habits at home
Whether you’re traveling during the holidays or just catching up with friends and family locally, don’t alter the way you deal with food just because it’s the holidays.
While it’s refreshing—and important—to have cheat days every once a while, if you’re already carrying excess weight, you’re better off sticking with your healthy lifestyle even when everyone around you goes on a drinking spree or junk-snacks late into the night. Avoid the holiday attitude that prompts people to shun all caution only to deal with the consequences later.
Bring your own food
This is one of the best ways to control what you eat at a holiday party. Simply cook up a healthy dish and bring it to share with friends and family. This way you won’t have to resort to party food when you get hungry and will be satisfied that you managed to somewhat control what you put in your mouth.
Drink in moderation
Alcohol and other beverages are undoubtedly one of the key culprits in holiday weight gain. Many people manage to skip fattening foods but tend to have unlimited alcohol and sodas, wondering later why they put on the extra pounds despite watching their diet.
Market-bought beverages are overloaded with sugar and drinking alcohol is known to increase appetite. The best way out is to watch not only what you eat but also what you drink.
Weigh yourself every day
If you’re watching your weight, chances are that you’re already weighing yourself a couple of times a day. Continue the habit during the holidays as it will help you keep track of your weight while you make merry with your loved ones.
Don’t get disheartened if you gain a couple of pounds initially despite watching your diet. Instead, use the knowledge to moderate your diet going forward.
Make water the first thing you drink at a party
Weight-watchers know all too well how water can make one feel full and help control their food intake. A great way to beat overeating at a party is to drink two full glasses of water before making your way to the aperitif table or opening a can of beer or soda. In fact, drinking more water throughout the celebration will help you feel full and limit your alcohol intake as well.
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Eat slowly and take a break between helpings
This is a great trick to stop people from forcing you to eat or drink in excess. Take small portions and eat slowly, chewing and relishing every bite of an appetizer before moving to the next dish. Do the same with alcohol.
Pacing yourself will not only help you eat less, it will also give your brain a chance to register satiety so that you’ll feel full sooner. Also remember to take a break before going for a second helping, to give yourself time to decide if you really need to have more of those fried chicken wings.
Give your body a chance to recuperate
For a person who’s used to a light, healthy diet, all the feasting and partying during the holidays can lead to digestion woes, lack of sleep and groggy, irritable mornings. All this can take a toll on your overall health and eat into your exercise regimen.
However, the holidays also mean that you have way more time on your hands. Use the extra time to rest, recuperate and re energize yourself. Walk to the next dinner party, go for a swim, take mid-morning jogs, cycle to the grocery shop or spend more time at the gym—the idea is to increase your physical activity to match your current lifestyle.