As the holiday season is upon and Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approach, the thought of turkey fresh out of the oven and piles of mashed potatoes make our stomachs grumble. But along with the family get-togethers and feasts, come the dreaded holiday weight gain that we can all fall victim to so easily. The foods found at holiday meals cannot really be considered "good foods for a diet" or "the best diet foods" which isn't very helpful when you are trying to lose weight. Here are some easy weight loss tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain:
- Avoid foods that increase your appetite. White flour products, white rice, potatoes, and sweets can all increase your cravings. Instead, choose whole grains and beans as an alternative to unhealthier starches and avoid rolls and biscuits as well as sweet beverages all together.
- Stay away from liquid calories. Liquid calories tend to be very fattening due to the surge of blood glucose that put the body in fat storage mode, and due to the fact that they don't provide any bulk in the stomach. Instead of eggnog, choose water or unsweetened tea.
- Make sure to eat protein at each meal. The digestion of protein gives a steady and prolonged glucose level, which decreases hunger while providing you with more energy. Some of the healthiest sources of protein are fish, shellfish, poultry, beans, wild game, soy, eggs, nuts, and low-fat dairy products.
- Eat foods that are bulky but low on calories first. Filling up your stomach with low calorie foods first will reduce your appetite before you get to the high calorie foods. Go straight to the veggie tray at holiday parties, and dip your veggies in hummus instead of high-fat dips. At dinners, fill up 2/3 of your plate with fruits and veggies and eat a tossed salad before the rest of your meal.
- Practice portion control. As humans, we are hard wired to eat all of the food that is put in front of us, and are not always the best at being able to tell whether we are full or not. Make sure to be constantly aware of the portions you are consuming during the holiday season.
- Don't let yourself get hungry. It is important to make sure and eat 3 meals a day as well as small snacks in between to keep yourself from binge eating at your holiday meal. Not eating foods for several hours leads to excessive hunger, slows down your metabolism, and increases the release of fat-storing insulin.
- Make sure to exercise. It is easy to forget the importance of exercise during the holidays, especially when it gets cold outside. Exercise is one of the best ways to ward off weight gain as well as help with stress and anxiety you may experience during the rush of the holidays.
- Exercise caution when satisfying your sweet tooth. Instead of a piece of pie or cake; reach for fresh fruit salad, dark chocolate, or a cup of real hot cocoa. But if you must indulge, be extremely aware of how much you are consuming.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Not only does alcohol also come with empty calories, it also decreases inhibitions and increases your likelihood to consume unnecessary foods. It can also increase your unhealthy cravings the next morning. Be sure to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage that you consume.
- Get you beauty sleep. Recent studies have shown that lack of sleep increases your appetite for sweets, chips, breads, and pasta as well as decreasing your motivation to exercise. Between all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, be sure to get enough sleep each night.
- Steer clear of mindless eating. Be sure not to stand around the appetizer table talking, as doing so can increase your chances of snacking. Also be sure to pre-plate everything, we will eat less if we can view it all before we start eating.
Following these easy diet tips will help you steer clear of unwanted holiday weight gain and can help you stay on track to meeting your weight loss goals. Don't let the holiday season get in your way of a healthy and happier life! Keep working hard and you will see the results you are looking for.