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Ways to avoid holiday weight gain

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The Christmas/New Year holiday season is here with its many parties and lots of tempting food and drinks. It’s also a time for piling on the weight with all the delicious food around.

Here are some tips to guide you through this season without gaining unnecessary weight.

Don’t skip meals
Though it’s tempting to skip a meal if you know you’ll be feasting on great party food later in the evening, you’ll actually be setting yourself up to binge. Not eating is the wrong approach because it makes you extra hungry and more likely to go overboard later. A small meal is recommended (ideally something with carbohydrates and protein) before you head to the party so you are not ravenous by the time you get there. That way you’ll have more control over what you choose to eat.

Watch portion size
Big dishes and big spoons are big trouble for those avoiding weight gain this holiday season. The problem with big spoons and plates is that you may be scooping up and eating more food than you really need. Switch to smaller lunch-size or salad plates to keep a better eye on how much you are actually consuming.

Stick to low calorie foods
If you can, stick to the lower-calorie offerings at the snack table. A plain shrimp, for example, is a better option than a deep-fried canapé. Raw veggies are a great choice too, but be mindful of the fat-heavy dip. When you’re counting calories, it’s the silly little things that all add up.

Watch what you drink
Though a little tipple may be nice at a holiday party, be mindful of how much you drink. Not only is alcohol high in calories, it can also stimulate your appetite. It is advisable to start out with a glass of sparkling water or a diet soda before moving on to the booze, then alternating alcoholic beverages with water as the evening progresses. And watch what you’re drinking, too: a glass of eggnog, for example, has many more calories than a glass of wine.

Take your time
Not only will eating more slowly allow you to enjoy what you’re eating, you’ll actually eat less. Eating quickly puts you at risk of packing in more calories than you actually need. Whether it’s a bountiful turkey dinner or a piece of Christmas cake, slow yourself down and savour every mouthful.

Socialize with friends and family
After your first plate of food, sit back and take a planned break to chat with friends. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full. Then ask yourself if you’re really hungry for seconds. If you are, choose just one or two foods that are on your “must try” list, and have even smaller portions than before. If you realize you’re not hungry after all, pat yourself on the back for listening to your satiety cues.

Keep your regular fitness routine
When you’re juggling social obligations, shopping and cooking, it’s tempting to let your exercise sessions fall to the bottom of the list. Instead, make physical fitness a priority.

Besides burning off extra calories, working up a sweat will leave you glowing and feeling energized. You’ll not only look and feel fabulous, but the exercise will also help you manage holiday stress-and who does not need that?


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