Avoiding weight gain during the holiday season is easier said than done, but it is most definitely possible. With the right preparation and a few basic diet tips you can get through the holiday season without putting on much if any extra weight. The temptation will almost certainly be there, but there are plenty of ways that you can avoid putting on excess calories. Portion control is one of the best methods to avoid weight gain during the holidays but there are plenty of other ways as well. If you've struggled with weight gain in the past during the holiday season try some of these tips.
Be careful with your portions
Being careful with your portions is essential to avoiding weight gain. In most cases you won't be able to avoid eating unhealthy food, but when you control your portion sizes the damage won't be as bad. Try to eat smaller portions of carbohydrate rich foods like potatoes, bread and desserts and eat larger portions of vegetables and protein. It may not seem like much but just changing your portion sizes a little bit can make a huge difference in the number of calories that you eat with each meal. One easy way to do this is to just use smaller plates, but you can also measure out smaller portions, and you don't have to count every calorie but just be sure to limit your carbohydrate intake.
Weigh yourself every day
When you are keeping track of your weight it can actually help you stay focused. It's a lot easier to gain weight when you aren't aware of how much weight you are gaining. So, try to weigh yourself every morning as if you were on a diet. You'll might be less likely to want dessert when you know that you've been gaining weight. Keeping track of your weight can also help you know when you need to lower your calories or make other adjustments to your diet. It doesn't take more than a few seconds and it's well worth your time to weigh yourself every day. Some weight fluctuation can be expected when you change your diet so quickly, but you shouldn't be gaining more than a few pounds.
Keep exercising even when you're on vacation
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean that you have an excuse not to exercise. Vacation time is usually a great opportunity to exercise because of the free time that you have. Jogging or doing your favorite cardio exercise every day can definitely help to offset some of the weight gain that might occur during the holidays. Just be sure that you don't rely on exercise too much to help you out with it. There's only so much that exercise can do when it comes to combating an unhealthy diet. You're much better off focusing most of your energy on avoiding carbs and sugar, but getting a few minutes of exercise in every day definitely won't hurt.
Drink water before you start eating
Several studies have found that drinking water before you eat is a great way to reduce your appetite during meals. It takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to register that you have started eating after you take your first bite. Because of this, it's essential that you pace yourself and drinking water before you eat can help you with that initial hunger right after you start eating. Water suppresses the appetite without adding calories, and in general you should drink as much water as you can when you aren't eating the healthies of diets, as it can help your body flush toxins and it also helps with digestion and avoiding dehydration from salty foods.
Make your own meals
This is probably easier said than done when you're staying with friends and family, but you should try to make your own meals when possible, or bring your own meals. You can't rely on your family to help you stick to a healthy diet, and the chances are that most of the food that you will find at dinner parties won't be the best choice for your waistline. If you have the opportunity to bring your own food, always take advantage of it. In some cases of course this won't be possible, and in those situations you'll have to rely on the other tips in this article. But, if you are going to a potluck or if you're cooking, making a healthy dish is always a good idea.
Eat mostly vegetables and protein
Calorie intake isn't quite as important as the quality of the calories that you are consuming. It's far better to get most of your calories from vegetables and protein rather than sugar and grains, so try to eat as many vegetables as you can during the holidays. The fiber in vegetables will help keep you full and reduce your hunger, and the same goes for protein which stabilizes your blood sugar and helps you resist the urge to snack. Fruit is another great alternative to holiday snacks, just be careful to avoid dates, bananas or other high sugar fruits or dried fruits, but fresh oranges, strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, and many other choices are a good idea.
Take your time when you're eating
As previously mentioned, your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that you've started eating, due to a delayed response in a hunger hormone. Because of this, it helps to really take your time when eating. Sit down and enjoy your meal with your friends and family and don't rush it, because rushing will very likely make you eat a lot more than you should. Think about getting seconds before you actually get them; even though everyone else might be getting seconds it doesn't mean that you have to as well. If you limit your servings and take your time, it will really help a lot with your appetite control. Also be sure to drink plenty of non-calorie fluids throughout your meal which is also helpful at reducing your hunger levels.
Don't add sugar to your drinks or food
Adding extra sugar to your food or drinks is almost a guaranteed way to gain weight. Drinks that are sweetened with sugar like eggnog, alcoholic drinks, juice cocktails, or even regular juice are definitely not good to consume when you're trying to lose weight. Be extremely careful to avoid adding any extra sugar to your food or drinks. Stick to a few zero calorie beverages, and some good replacement drinks include carbonated water, unsweetened tea or coffee, and many others. Stevia or truvia is a great natural sweetener that you can use with several drinks, but avoid any other artificial sweeteners, as they can lead to a wide range of different negative side effects and health issues.