Portion control is always key but holiday temptations seem endless. And it is that time of year again, when extra calories lurk around every corner. All these extra calories add up and you will put on a pound or two by New Year’s day. What is the harm in putting on a pound or two over the holidays, right? According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.
You do not have to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy the holiday goodies without putting on pounds if you use portion control to guide you. Of course, it is not easy to go on portion control when those goodies are at your finger tips, but these tips will help you to avoid overindulging.
Planning ahead can help you maintain some discipline when you are tempted with party foods. Try having a nutritious snack prior to the event. Have some vegetables or a broth based soup, so you are somewhat full on your way in the door. If you do arrive to the party hungry, try having a glass of water to fill up before filling your plate.
2. Pace Yourself
Have you ever tried telling yourself that you will just have one cookie , and then just one cupcake? This strategy is a mistake because you will indulge in one of everything as fast as you can. Choose only one item and chew slowly. Make it last. Chewing more slowly will fill you up with less food. Putting your fork down in between bites is a great way to slow down your eating pace. This places you in control of your meal, rather than the meal in control of you.
People tend to forget there is more to a holiday party than food. Do not look at the event as a food extravaganza but rather a gathering of friends, company or dancing. Focus on chatting with individuals in the room whether it is a large or small gathering.
4. Be Smarter than the Buffet
When gatherings are served buffet style, trick yourself by grabbing the smallest plate available and DO NOT stack your food. Limit your helpings to a single serving. Go for the simplest of foods on the buffet line. Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables and shrimp cocktail. Stay away from sauces and dips.
5. Limit Alcohol
Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. It is not just about the calories but it is also about the control. If you drink too much you will not have as much control over what you eat. Your weakness for those greasy or sugary delights will get the best of you. If you feel out of place in an environment that everyone is drinking, grab yourself a club soda with lime. Most people will assume you are drinking a vodka tonic!
6. Choose your Sweets Carefully
When it comes to indulging in sweets, be very selective when choosing your dessert. Limit your dessert to a small portion and what is the most alluring to you! What about sampling desserts? Is this an option? The answer is, you have to know yourself. If you are able to eat one bite of something and stop, then by all means sampling may work for you. If you are the type that cannot stop after one little bite, you are better off taking a small portion of the one desired dessert than piling your plate with several different options.
7. Bring your Own Treats to the Party
Whether it is an office potluck or a friend’s party, consider bringing a low calorie treat that you really enjoy. Bringing your own low fat/low calorie creation will make the more fattening choices less tempting.
If you do lots of cooking during the holidays, crack down on taking all those little tastes. People tend to lose their appetites when they have been cooking because they have actually been eating the whole time. Instead of tasting your creations mindlessly every few minutes, limit yourself to two small bites of each item pre- and post seasoning. Just a dab with a spoon.
9. Walk it Off
Try and make a new holiday tradition. A holiday walk. Make this a family tradition! Besides burning off calories, it will get everyone away from the food for awhile and get people off the couch! Walking will not only benefit you physically but it also puts you in the mind set to be more careful about what you eat. There is something about activity that puts you in control.
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