5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

| Health, Lifestyle

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Close your eyes, and picture any holiday get-together. What do you see? Family, friends, gifts, glistening lights, clinking glasses, FOOD. Such are the holidays, and it’s hard to give up any of those pieces without causing the Jenga tower of tradition to topple over. So if someone’s trying to tell you to give your holiday food faves the cold shoulder, you’ve come to the right place for a second opinion. Here are some tips on keeping that ‘food’ block steady and, ahem, in shape.

Opt for Homemade Goodies
As a general sweeping statement, store-bought versions of your favorite foods are often less healthy than when they’re homemade. Prepared mashed potatoes have more salt and fat than the ones straight from mom’s stove. Brand-name chocolate chip cookies will have more refined ingredients and preservatives than the ones from your friend group’s cookie swap. If you’re having trouble deciding what your indulgence will be, keep that in mind (within reason!).

Do a Warm-Up Lap
Ever gotten to the end of a buffet table only to realize you helped yourself to some of literally everything? Ditto. Ever wished that you left room for the beet salad that was halfway down the row instead of taking up valuable plate real estate with the first 2 options you saw? Yup. Save yourself the Self-Server’s Remorse (and inevitable second lap to make sure you get what you actually wanted) by checking out the entirety of the spread before helping yourself. Refer to the next couple tips for help with this.

Get Your Food Groups in First
You learned about the food pyramid in elementary school, but it’s since been replaced with MyPlate, a go-to guide of how your plate should look: one half fruits and/or veggies, and the other half split between grains and protein. When putting your first helping together, do your best to organize a textbook plate. If you see a plate full of carbs and carbs alone in your future, reevaluate. Starting your meal with the core food groups will make you fuller faster and, if nothing else, gets you important nutrients during a meal that could otherwise get out of hand (nutrition-wise) quickly.

Ask Yourself- What Will Really Satisfy Me?
When you mosey on up to the dessert table, you see grandma’s dreamy carrot cake. But instead of grabbing a slice, you practice restraint and get a much smaller thumbprint cookie. But just one cookie isn’t nearly as satisfying as grandma’s slice, and they’re way smaller, so having two is still saving some calories, right? But is that still the case after the 3rd or 4th, neither of which are as tasty as the cake? Being able to stiff arm your favorites is admirable, but if you let the consolation treats pile up, your efforts are in vain. Allow yourself a taste of what you really want- just peep our next rule to learn how to go about that.

The Three Bite Rule
The first bite is as good, or better, than you expect. The second doesn’t give you butterflies like the first did, but it’s still darn delicious. The third is familiar and still not better than the previous two, and all indications show it’s not going to get better than that first kiss. So why keep going? And as cliché as it sounds, make them last longer by slowing down; chew them longer and take more time between them.