‘Tis the season! For some to be jolly, but for others, to be worried about holiday weight gain. Although it may sound impossible to avoid gaining weight as much as Santa going down the chimney for gifts, there are ways and strategies to steer clear of unwanted weight.
Tips and Tricks to Avoid Unwanted Weight Gain During the Holidays
Here are some ways on how not to get fat during the holidays:
You’ve probably heard some people say that “fast eaters get fat faster”. This statement actually makes sense. Why? Because the quicker you chew and the faster you eat, the less time your brain registers feelings of fullness. Studies say that eating slowly can lead to higher levels of satiety between meals. So, the next time you eat, feel free to savor each bite.
Steer away from too much sugar
We all know that to some, the holidays won’t seem like holidays without pies, sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes, and sweets like candy canes or other desserts. While it might be tempting to load up a full plate of any of these, keep in mind that high sugar content may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
Stick to natural forms of sugar if you are truly craving
If you have a sweet tooth, you probably struggle with occasional sugar cravings. But, don’t blame yourself because, like being thirsty, craving sugary foods can be a result of an underlying physiologic response. Instead, if you have an uncontrollable desire to eat sugary snacks and food, try to consume better alternatives and turn your back against food with artificial sugars.
Use smaller plates
Eating may be a voluntary activity, but it is also an automatic behavior. When you sit down in front of a table full of desserts, piping hot spring rolls, an entire roasted turkey, and homemade pasta, it will be hard to resist filling up your plates and tasting all of them. After that, you’ll end up realizing you ate too much.
By breaking the habit and automaticity of putting a lot of food in your plate—in this case, by using smaller plates—you can help reduce your overall food intake.
Drinking water is known to help people by inducing feelings of fullness. When you feel full, you consume fewer calories.
Set realistic goals
It’s easy to say that you will avoid eating too much than doing it. But, it is more difficult to achieve goals that are impossible to achieve. For instance, if you write down goals such as ‘sticking to half servings of meals a day’ instead of ‘avoiding to eat anything at all every two days,’ it can be easier to achieve. Impractical objectives and goals will just slow you down.
Turn to veggies
Vegetables are good alternatives to save yourself against obesity. Vegetables and certain fruits that are rich in dietary fibers help reduce food intake by reducing hunger and increase feelings of satiety.
Pick high protein meals
Instead of fats, proteins can help you maintain a healthy weight. Research says that high-protein diets are linked with greater satiety. So, make sure to eat some of the high protein meals like roasted chicken or prepare alternatives such as lentils and beans.
If you are home for the holidays, you can still remain active by doing some home workout or hitting a local gym. Yes, everyone is busy during the holidays, but a 5 minute workout won’t hurt.
Bring your own meal
If you are unsure of what’s in every dish at your friend’s holiday party or mom’s prepared meals, bring a healthy dessert or dish. In that case, even if you don’t know what kind of foods they have that does not fit your dietary plan, you have a healthy alternative to down in.
Just say no to temptation
Though your mom or friends may encourage overeating by shoving in the fried chicken leg, casserole, and desserts into your plate, learn to respectfully decline. You can say you are on a diet or you’re already full.
A lot of stress can trigger hunger and cravings, especially for sugary foods and carbohydrates. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed with all the holiday rush, try to relax and reduce stress before sitting in front of the dinner table.
Now that you know some tips and tricks to avoid getting fat this holiday season, you may find that you’ve not only avoided weight gain but even lost some during this season.
About the Authors:
Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the dean's list with a Masters Degree in science. Mike was a two time National Muay Thai Champion, and a strength and conditioning coach to several learned athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach.
Marijune Tiamzon, RN, MHPNP
With nearly 5 years of experience in the medical field, Marijune holds a registered nurse license and a certificate as a mental health nurse practitioner. She is an adventurous young professional, and her hobbies include diving, windsurfing, and saber fencing.
As an avid writer, she is most passionate about sharing acquired knowledge in the medical field and how to apply it to improve the quality of life of our readers.