A holiday without eating to your heart’s content is likely no holiday at all. But of course then again, food and several other things that we end up doing on holidays are linked to weight gain. Enter the world of the dreaded holiday weight, a scary place none of us like being. But you’re in luck – I have put together some ways, with some very logical explanations that can actually help you avoid putting on those extra pounds.
1. Don’t skip meals, especially to be able to eat more at a party to avoid holiday weight gain
Have you ever been guilty of skipping a meal so you could eat at that one party that came out of nowhere? Come on, you know we’ve all done it! But skipping meals, especially breakfast, is probably one of the worst things you could do to your body. And for those of you who think this is a weight loss tool, let’s get one thing straight: skipping breakfast is never going to help you lose weight. Not eating breakfast subconsciously leads you to binge eating later on.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it is usually the deciding factor for how much you’re actually going to end up eating throughout the day. It affects energy levels, appetite and even the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods you’ll consume for the rest of the day. So, ensure you eat a reasonably sized breakfast with high protein content, so you will stay full for longer and also reduce your urges to gorge on excess food.
2. Take smaller plates to avoid holiday weight gain
You can trick your brain into eating less. Taking smaller plates can send signals of being full to your mind. Spaces on your plate can be associated with eating less by the brain and therefore avoid overeating. Grab the smaller salad plate even for your main course meals. Fool your brain before it fools you and avoid that extra holiday weight gain.
3. Eat slowly to avoid weight gain
Seeing many options on a dinner table, may make it impossible for you to eat slowly. But the body needs time to register being full and eating quickly may not give it the time to do so.
Slow eating increases the post-meal response of the anorexigenic hormones, which are the hormones that make the body eat less. So, it’s better to slow down and savour every bite you take instead of gobbling down every appetizer to jump to the next.
4. Say no to added sugar to avoid weight gain
“Desserts, desserts, where are you? Can you give me a look, I’m craving for you.” That’s me all the time! But unfortunately most desserts have added sugars, and that is just a big no no if you’re looking to avoid packing on a few pounds. Excess sugars convert themselves into fats and get stored in the body, and may also increase your risk of developing heart disease and obesity.
I don’t intend to stop you from eating the natural sugars that fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain though; in fact, they contain just the amount of sugar that our body requires! But when the craving seems to be irresistible, and the fruits are just not cutting it, go for a super small portion of the dessert you’re eyeing.
5. Wait before you get your second portion to avoid weight gain
Did I mention that fast eating promotes more eating? You aren’t giving your body enough time to send signals to the brain that it might be full. Before you can actually register that you’re full, you fill up with something else.
So it is wise to give your body some time to tell you whether it really wants to eat more. Try chatting or walking with your friends after you’re done with your first helping and see if you’re still hungry after.
6. Your Netflix better be off during your meals
Easier said than done – what else do you do while eating? Especially when you’re alone eating in the comfort of your home.
But eating while watching television is associated with making bad food choices and overeating. This may be explained by the desire to actually eat more while watching food and beverage commercials. Moreover, you can actually get lost in watching your movie, TV or web series and forget how much you’ve already eaten, and end up eating mindlessly! Not good!
7. Water, water and water
Water is another thing that can trick you into eating a lot less because it makes you feel full. Drinking water is linked to weight loss in overweight, dieting women independent of their diet and activity. Water’s benefits are not only restricted to lowering your appetite, it has many other benefits as well and is one of the best things for your body.
Avoid sugar-laden juices and sodas and treat yourself with a glass of wine with dinner, and fill your days with water.
We all have moments – emotional moments – when we think that only an indulgent, delicious meal can save us from the agony. But it is also true for all of us that we tend to overeat when we give in to those moments of stress. And this interferes with our weight loss goals big time.
The best way to battle these stressful situations is meditation. You might also find it twice as difficult to meditate when you’re stressed than when not. But it’s good for your health overall.
Techniques like muscle relaxation, deep breathing and mindfulness can help binge eaters become aware of how much they’re actually eating, and how they can control their eating when they’re emotional.
Meditation can also help with self-control which is what you’re going to need to not get carried away when seeing all that food on display at parties.
9. Don’t bar all fats
You can choose to cut butter and animal fats as a tool assisting you in your weight loss regime. But it is not wise to consider fats as a whole bad. Fats are as important as any other nutrient is to our body. We need fats to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. We also need fats to feel full, mostly healthy fats.
Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and are required by the brain for it to function properly. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats from avocados, olive oil and nuts are great for you.
10. It’s okay to acknowledge a few cravings
At last, a suggestion you won’t want to neglect. It’s okay, and rather smart, to recognize some of your desires in place of getting away from them altogether.
Getting away from a food or food group entirely will only make you more attracted to it. Cheating once in a while will not be counted as cheating. But if you try eliminating something from your diet completely, it may make it much more difficult for you to actually follow your diet.
Also, if you eat the dessert you’ve been longing for, you may develop a kind of lasting satisfaction and the innate feeling of not wanting to eat it again, at least for a while. If you’re the kind that’s devoted, you can also try to distract yourself by thinking about something else, like an activity you really like. Research suggests that daydreaming about fun activities can actually reduce the intensity of your food cravings, seems to be worth a shot!