During the season of holiday parties, family dinners, and an abundance of sugary sweets and drinks, it can be easy to let eating habits spin out of control. But the holidays don’t have to be a season of weight gain. Follow these tips to control the urge to overeat during the holidays.
Regular mealtimes matter
Feelings of deprivation quickly lead to urges to overeat. During the holidays, many people’s schedules can be busier than normal, leading them to skip regular mealtimes. But eating every 3-5 hours can help regulate blood sugar. This helps to control hunger, prevent weight gain and decreases chances of bingeing later on holiday sweets.
Fill up on the holiday turkey
Protein is a key part of weight maintenance. Eating enough protein boosts feelings of fullness and increases metabolism. Many holiday treats are chock-full of carbs and fat but low in protein. Aim to include protein at every meal, and fill up on items like turkey, fish, or chicken first to avoid overindulging in the sugary treats.
Be creative with exercise
When life gets busier, many people let their exercise habits start to slip. But during the holidays, it’s more important than ever to keep moving to prevent weight gain. It may be difficult to maintain a normal exercise routine, but sneaking in additional activity can be just as beneficial. Try taking a walk after family dinner, add in extra bursts of running up and down stairs while cleaning, or get up earlier to fit in a 30-minute at-home workout.
Control this one factor to prevent weight gain
Studies have shown a direct link between high stress and a desire for more calorie-dense foods. The holiday season can be a time of increased stress, but engaging in stress reduction techniques prevents the urge to overeat. Carving out time for meditation, quiet time, exercise, or talking with a trusted friend can all keep stress levels lower and prevent weight gain during busy holiday months.
Be picky and show favorites
Trying to avoid all holiday sweets will lead to frustration, possible binges, and subsequent weight gain. When approaching the holiday buffet, choose 1-2 favorite desserts and take small portions. Limiting indulgence to a small portion of a very favorite item can help to decrease feelings of deprivation and prevent overeating.
What’s really in that drink?
While it may be unrealistic to completely cut out alcohol during the holidays, it’s important to be mindful about alcohol intake. Drinking calories likely won’t make a person feel full, so it’s easier to take in too many calories without realizing it. Additionally, holiday drinks are often calorie bombs and hidden culprits of holiday weight gain. Alcohol can also lower inhibition and increase the chance of overindulging in holiday foods. During holiday parties, try sipping on water or seltzer for most of the night. If there’s a favorite alcoholic drink available, aim to limit intake to one serving.