The time period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is generally regarded as a time where diet doesn’t matter. It’s an opportunity to indulge in all sorts of goodies, both savory and sweet. It’s common to hear people complain that their clothes are fitting a little tighter once the season is over. If you’re looking to maintain your weight (and wardrobe) this holiday season, these tips are for you!
Lots of people think simply avoiding situations where they are likely to overeat is their best bet. Don’t avoid holiday parties! Why miss out on fun with friends and family for fear of overeating? The point of this season is to reconnect with loved ones, not to worry about food. Here are some tips to help keep your cravings in check and eat in moderation.
1. Follow your normal eating pattern, don’t show up starving:
A common tactic is to ‘save’ all of your calories for the party, giving you permission to overeat when you get there. Treat party day like any other, following a normal meal and snack pattern to avoid getting too hungry. If the party time comes between your normal meals, eat in moderation, and go for a lighter meal later on if you feel you overindulged, don’t just skip it altogether.
2. Avoid socializing around the buffet table:
Lingering at the buffet table is a killer for mindful eating. You mingle, talk and mindlessly grab another appetizer, until you’ve had way too much. Instead, grab a small plate, take what looks good and walk away. Mingle with your friends somewhere else.
3. Skip the foods you can have any time:
If there are store-bought baked goods, dinner rolls or dime-a-dozen dishes, skip them. You’ve had them before, you’ll have them again, save room for something else. Choose the dish that grandma only makes once a year, or something that looks new and exciting.
4. Stop eating foods that don’t taste good:
Socialize while paying attention to what you are tasting. If a dish isn’t everything you hoped and dreamed, don’t finish it. In fact, don’t take a large portion in the first place. Take enough for a taste and go back for more if it truly is delicious.
5. Bring a healthy option:
This is good for two reasons. One, you know you will have something to fall back on if your host only makes pigs in a blanket. Two, you will avoid “leftover syndrome” — a situation in which you take home whatever is left of what you made, and eat it twice a day until its gone. At least if it’s somewhat healthy, you won’t get too off track.
6. Watch your liquid calorie intake:
‘Tis the season for cocktail connoisseurs to test their skills with eggnog, candy cane flavored mixers and other overly-sweet drinks. While a new mix may be fun, extra calories from sugar, especially when mixed with alcohol, can lead to indigestion, immediate headache and the ever dreaded hangover the next day. Your best bet is to sample a small amount of the drink and make sure to hydrate (with water!).
7. Get out for some extra activity:
Most likely, you will eat a bit more than normal. Add a few extra minutes or bursts of intensity to your daily routine to burn a little bit more. This can help offset those extra calories you may have consumed. Don’t work out for hours on end to compensate for that extra slice of pie. Remember not to think of exercise as a punishment for overindulging, just a tool to maintain balance in your body!
It happens to everyone at some point. There will be occasions, even with all of these tips, that you over do it and indulge a bit too much. No need to worry. Tomorrow is another day, plan to get back on track. Holiday parties do not last 24/7, every day for the next month, so don’t give yourself permission to stay off track every day. Most likely, you won’t feel too good, and you may pack on a few pounds you weren’t planning on.
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What are your party tricks to keep from overdoing it?