It is the time of the year when those unwanted calories seem to be all around you: cakes in the office pantry, cookies from your neighbours, chocolates stuffed in your stockings on the Christmas tree etc. A nibble here and there, by New Year’s Day you will weigh 2-3 kgs more. Gosh!
So you tell yourself you will get the extra 2kg off after the New Year’s, perhaps you can book an extra session in January with your trainer if you have time. In the U.S., researchers found that most people never lose the weight they gained over the festive holidays. Somehow, this gets harder as we get older. As such, the weight adds up year after year, making the holiday weight gain a key factor in adult obesity.
However, you need NOT to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy the holiday goodies without putting on any weight.
Your answer is in portion sizing, and discipline in doing so.
We can achieve this through 10 easy steps:
Do not arrive hungry
I have always been an advocate of planning ahead for your nutrition. Planning ahead can help you maintain discipline in the face of temptation. Do not arrive at a party starving.
Have a light snack before you leave for the party. If you do arrive feeling hungry, drink water to fill your stomach up before hitting the food.
Distract yourself from food
Don’t think about the party as a food galore event. Enjoy the company of your friends and engage in meaningful conversations other than food.
Eat slowly, to help yourself. Chewing slowly will allow less food to be taken in. Better still, put the cutlery down between each bite.
Protein helps to maintain a healthy weight because it promotes greater satiety and a bigger advantage of promoting healthy muscle growth. Help yourself with some turkey, roasted chicken or prepare some vegetable protein foods such as quinoa, beans or lentils.
When the meal is served in buffet-style, use the smallest plate available and do not stack up your food. Limit your helpings to one, and hit the fresh fruits and vegetables. Be wary of sauces and dips for hidden calories.
Avoid overconsumption of alcohol at parties. It is not only about the calories in the alcohol, but it is also about the control.
Overdrinking often leads to overeating.
If you need to be seen drinking something to go along with everyone else, sip on sparkling water so you will be drinking something sparkling like everyone else.
Be selective on sweets
Be choosy when it comes to desserts. Limit your indulgences to small portions and take only what is very appealing to you.
For me, if it is going to have calories from desserts, it has to be dark chocolate.
Some may ask, how about sampling on different types of desserts?
You have to know and be honest with yourself. Some can take a bite and stop. Some are better with taking a small portion of one type of dessert and nothing else after.
Bring your own
Going to attend a friend’s party or office potluck? Consider bringing your own treat which you know you will enjoy and is low in calorie! Bringing your own dessert will make the more fattening alternatives less tempting.
Fruits can be a good alternative for desserts. It doesn’t always have to be cakes and pastries.
Just Say No
Your friends, colleagues or relatives may shove seconds onto your plate, you should know that it is OK to decline, politely. “No thank you I am full.” Or “I am taking a break now” should be enough for them to back off and to give you time to decide if you would like more helpings later.
Work it off
Start a new tradition of working out through the holidays. Make appointments with your personal trainer, and organize a family walk to burn off the extra calories! This will also help your family to take their minds and energy away from the food for a while.
10 Way to avoid holiday weight gain. Susan G. Rabin, MA. WebMD.
31 Science-Backed Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain. Nicole McDermott. Nov 11 2015.