The average American gains about seven pounds during the holiday season. Before you roll your eyes and blow this information off, keep in mind that research indicates that most people never completely burn off that weight during the next year. In other words, a portion of that weight you gain during the holidays is never going to be lost, which is why many of us gain a few pounds as we grow older. With that in mind, consider these tips to avoid (or minimize) weight gains during the holidays.
Take it slow. While you're at a party or a gathering, make a point of eating very slowly. This will fill you up with much less food. Telling yourself that you will only eat during the first hour of a party is usually a mistake -- you end up gorging yourself, and oftentimes you end up eating later in the party anyways.
Eat before you leave your home. You know there is going to be good food at a holiday party -- and chances are, it's not going to be healthy. So fill up on something healthy before you leave the house. Just like you shouldn't go shopping for groceries on an empty stomach, the same rule applies to going to a holiday party.
Take it easy with the alcohol. Alcohol is a major culprit when it comes to holiday weight gains. That's because in addition to being high in carbs, alcohol will lower your inhibitions-including your commitment not to over eat! Stick to only one drink-or even better, avoid alcohol altogether.
Stick to small plates. Many parties will have smaller appetizer-sized plates as well as larger options. Stick with the smallest plate available-by forcing yourself to limit your portions and make multiple trips to the buffet, you'll be much less likely to over eat.
Focus on socializing, not eating. Many of us immediately think of delicious appetizers and courses when we think of a holiday get-together. Train yourself instead to visualize the friends and family that you'll see. If you're like most of us, you're busy all year long and don't get to spend the time you'd like with those that are close to you. So take advantage of the opportunity by spending time with them, instead of in line at the buffet.
The holidays are a great time of year -- unfortunately, it's also easy to overeat. While it may be unrealistic to avoid gaining any weight this year, the suggestions we've given above will at least help you minimize any gains.
Cole Tanner is a mid-40s Southern California freelancer who enjoys writing about exercise, fitness, nutrition, coaching, family, home improvement and self-help techniques.
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