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Tips for reducing weight gain over the festive holidays

December 11, 2017

 

1. Eat before drinking and celebrating.
Skipping breakfast or lunch in order to “save your appetite” isn’t the best weight-maintenance tactic. While the jury’s still out on how important breakfast truly is, not eating until the afternoon may lead to binging later on. Stick to a reasonably sized breakfast with plenty of protein, which will keep you fuller longer and temper the urge to stuff your face later.

2. Bring your own.
Rather than try to figure out what’s in every dish at a friend’s party (or avoid eating altogether), bring a healthy side dish or dessert. Taste what you want, but know you have a healthy alternative to fall back on.

3. Eat and chew slowly
Eating slowly may not be easy when appetizer options are endless, but it pays off to pace yourself. The quicker we eat, the less time the body has to register fullness. So slow down and take a second to savor each bite of baked brie or scoop of spiced nuts.

4. Use smaller plates.
Plate sizes have expanded significantly over the years. Whenever possible, choose the smaller salad plate (8-10 inches) instead of a tray-like one (12 inches or more). Using smaller plates can actually make us feel fuller with less food. The brain associates a big white space on the plate with less food (and smaller plates generally require smaller portions).

5. Wait before grabbing seconds.
Like we've mentioned, the quicker we eat a meal, the less time we give our bodies to register fullness. Since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to get the message that dinner’s been served, it’s best to go for a walk or chat with friends before dishing up seconds.

6. Invest in some toss-away tupperware.
Before guests leave you with half-full platters of food, have some Tupperware at the ready. Load up containers for friends and family to hand out as they leave.

7. Turn off the box.
Though turning off the TV during any football game or family movie might feel like a sin, eating while watching television is linked to poor food choices and overeating. Plus, getting sucked into It's a Wonderful Life or Elf may bring on mindless eating, since it can be easy to lose track of just how many chocolates or sweets you've had. And it’s not just the mindlessness of watching television that’ll get us. Commercials for unhealthy foods and drinks may increase our desire for low-nutrient junk, fast food, and sugary beverages.

8. Turn your back on temptation.
The closer we are situated to food that’s in our line of vision, the more we’ll actually consume. A simple fix? Face away from the dessert spread to listen to cues from your gut rather than your eyes.
 
9. Beware of booze
Not only does alcohol add unnecessary calories to your diet, but getting boozy has another effect on us, too. Drinking too much in the presence of champagne, wine, and beer can make us lose our inhibitions around food and start eating irresponsibly.
 
10. Gulp H2O
Drinking water helps you feel full, and as a result consume fewer calories. Rather than guzzling calorie filled drinks. Treat yourself to a glass of wine with dinner and keep your allegiance to water for the rest of the day.

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