Whenever the holidays roll around, one of the first things to leave the routine is sticking to the diet. The sounds of Christmas music, the twinkling lights, and the smell of fresh cookies make the temptations to indulge not seem so much like temptation but just the opportunity to enjoy the traditions of the season. The Christmas season is full of opportunities to eat and revel in tidings of comfort and cheer, but for those who are watching their weight or following a protocol like the HCG diet, abandoning your self-control can be devastating. Don’t feel too bad if you have been guilty of snacking and stocking up on sweets during Christmas during years past. It is an easy trap and habit to fall into.
Reasons for Abandoning the Diet
The Christmas holidays are hard for people who struggle with weight loss. Even with the best preparations, the hustle and bustle of shopping and social gatherings make it hard to stick to an eating routine. Focusing on your health is usually the last thing on your mind as you rush back to the mall to grab one more teacher gift and pick up a burger on the way out. The effects of the chaos can lead to stress-eating whatever is within reach, which usually means cookies, snack cakes, and green and red wrapped candies. Staying up late to wrap presents usually leads to an overdose of caffeine or soda pop to help keep your drooping eyelids wide open. If you have social gatherings that request your presence, it might be considered rude to not partake in the meal. Therefore, you eat according to social culture and expectations rather than according to what your body needs to be healthy.
How to Avoid Overeating
Although it might take some time for you to re-train your approach to Christmas eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is possible. You can avoid weight gain, fluctuating sugar levels, and absolute exhaustion by taking advantage of these few tips.
- Start Your Meals Strategically. The foods served around the holidays tend to be much heavier than traditional dinners, which tends to send your calorie count haywire. If you start your meal with either a soup or a salad, you will be able to eat smaller portions of the heavier part of the dinner without being hungry. Broth-based soups and low-calorie dressings are best.
- Keep Up Your Water Intake. While you are busy rushing from store to store or party to party, it is easy to forget to get in your water consumption. By drinking water, it can help your body maintain its balance in fluid, which helps with food digestion, absorption of nutrients, and controlling calories. Throw a water bottle in the car or bring along snacks high in water content, such as fruits or veggie sticks. This can help your body feel more full while also providing needed nutrients.
- Eat Before Your Go. Although the invitation might include the command to come hungry, eating a healthy meal or snack before you leave for the party can help keep you from filling up on fattening junk. There is no denying the tastiness of traditional holiday hors d’oeuvres or dishes, but it might be helpful to remember the cliché but true dieting tip of “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips.”
- Pack a Snack. If you want to avoid the crowds at the mall, you might head out either really early or really late, but this last-minute or all-day shopping can lead to intense hunger. The walking will do you good, but running through a drive-through for a quick bite to eat ruins any progress you might have made. Packing a lunch tote full of healthy, protein-rich snacks and tossing it into the car can help curb your overeating. If you feel the urge to stress-eat, munching on strong cheese or whole-grain crackers is a much better option than french-fries or mozzarella sticks.
- Get Enough Sleep. Believe it or not, having to stay up late either wrapping presents or winding down an evening at friends can interfere with your Christmas dieting plan. In addition to causing drowsiness, sleep deprivation can increase your body’s desire for high-calorie food. The amount of sleep you get can have a direct impact on the hormones that work to regulate your hunger. This works negatively when these hormones continually signal your brain that it’s time to eat.
With these five tips, you don’t need to stress your way through the Christmas holidays. It is possible to eat healthily and feel good about the progress you are making, but still enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of the season.
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