The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. You get to see friends and family that you otherwise wouldn’t get to see. You get to share a great meal with the ones you love. However, it is also a time that many people gain weight. The holidays are traditionally a time when people overeat, gain weight, and derail their fitness goals. But you don’t have to let holiday festivities derail your healthy lifestyle goals. Here are some suggestions to help you stay strong and healthy during the festivities:
1. Get in the habit of eating breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overindulgent later on.
2. Plan ahead. Cook in batches, and freeze the extra portions for meals the next day.
3. Go easy on the alcohol. Our bodies don’t process alcohol like they do food, so it digests more slowly. The effect is twofold: First, if we drink too much, we won’t be able to eat as much as usual. Second, alcohol causes the body to store fats.
4. Avoid the buffet. Buffets are meant for grazing, not eating three meals a day.
5. Don’t serve yourself seconds. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re not hungry. If you eat too much, you won’t feel full until 30 minutes to an hour later.
6. Don’t snack after dinner. For one, your body may confuse leftover food as dinner, and second, eating before bed can cause heartburn.
7. Eat slowly. Eating fast leads to overeating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to sense that you are full. So eat slowly. Don’t drink your soup, and don’t gulp down your mashed potatoes. Go easy on your dessert. And savor your food. Dig your fork into the mashed potatoes, and savor each bite.
8. Eat dessert only if you’re truly hungry.