The end of the year is near, and with it come the holidays. During these days, people tend to gain a bit of weight. It almost seems inevitable. This article will be going over several tips to make sure you don’t overdo it, despite having a good time.
#1 – Balance is Key
Staying the same weight is really quite easy: make sure you don’t ingest more calories than you’re using. Nonetheless, a lot of people fail to keep an eye on their energy balance, especially in the festive month of December.
Everyone has their struggles during the holidays. Think about all the food that you’re constantly eating! You’re probably not even paying that much attention to your intake.
Of course there’s no shame to eating more food than usual. Christmas nearly forces you to! However, you can definitely take this into account if you are trying to lose some weight.
For example, you can compensate by eating less on the day before and after Christmas. This way allows you to spread all of those extra calories over multiple days, which makes it easier to stay the same weight.
You Don’t Become Fat Overnight
Luckily, one extra meal won’t double your weight. No, but you will start noticing a difference if you are eating too much for days on end. If your weight has increased with 2 lbs after Christmas Eve, fear not. Just make sure to not pig out excessively without compensating.
What the Heck Effect
A lot of dieters suffer from the so called ‘what the heck effect’. This effects shows once a person has violated one or more of their dieting rules. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter anymore what enters the stomach.
The rules have already been broken, so what the heck. Thoughts like these may lead to disinhibited (over)eating.
How to Counter These Thoughts
Other thoughts that may come to mind may be “Oh well, everyone is pigging out. What does it matter?” or “I can’t resist all of these temptations, so I will just give in. Starting next year, I will commit!”.
The first step to countering thoughts like these, are to analyze them. This isn’t always easy. Often enough, we’re not aware of our own thoughts, or they come in fragments.
Eating slow and paying attention to your food may help you to become aware of the amounts that you’re ingesting. This in turn may decrease chances of disinhibited overeating.
Once you are aware of these thoughts, you can correct your eating behavior.
#2 – Compensate With Cardio
Why don’t you go ahead and be physically active during the holidays? Have yourself a nice workout, go and run a few miles or take a long walk. The options are endless, really.
Don’t force yourself to move, though. If you’re not feeling it, don’t do it. This may indirectly lead to the ‘what the heck effect’, which we are trying to avoid.
Besides, I want you to enjoy the holidays and to not worry about all sorts of things!
#3 – More Vegetables!
If you are planning on eating all sorts of lovely foods, make sure you consume plenty of vegetables, too!
Vegetables can give a satisfying effect quickly, due to the large amount of fiber they contain.
#4 – Be Careful With Alcohol and Soft Drinks
You’ve probably heard it quite a lot of times, but I will repeat myself once more. Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and juices contain a lot of calories. You could replace regular soft drinks by their ‘light’ alternatives, and keep in mind that alcohol most certainly counts towards your energy balance.
Are you still going to enjoy your alcohol? Well, me too! However, if you are trying to focus on your calories for a bit, you might want to go for some wine or champagne, vodka or whiskey. These beverages contain very little added sugars.
Cocktails though, may contain up to twice the amount of sugar and alcohol!
Lastly, alcohol inhibits as we all may know. Foods may taste even better which may cause you to yield to all those yummy foods, without realizing it.
Just a thought.
#5 – Drink Water
I would recommend you to drink enough water before and during your dinner. This makes you feel more satisfied, which results in less food to be consumed. It will also aid the digestion of your generous Christmas dinner.
Drinking water therefore prevents the intestines from getting upset by all the snacks, sauces and exotic foods.
You might even have some energy for a short run the next day!
#6 – Small Portions
One of the best ways to eat less, is to take smaller portions of food. Do you think you can’t? Well, try using a smaller plate for example! The brain can get fooled by this very easily.
Eating slowly will give you a satisfied feeling of fullness.
#7 – Coffee
You might want to have yourself an extra cup of coffee during the holidays.
Caffeine gives you more energy, while suppressing feelings of hunger.
Another great effect of caffeine, is that it increases the fat burning capabilities of your body.
#8 – Don’t Just Go With Unhealthy
Make sure you are the chef during the holidays! By picking your own ingredients, you have a direct say about your calorie intake. Cooking food with lots of vegetables can be of great help, as they give feelings of saturation.
If you are host or hostess, you can choose to make healthy bites, for example a salad with tomato, cucumber or fruits. A large fruit bowl as a dessert can be just as delicious as a huge cake!
#9 – Pay Attention While Eating
Our eyes and thoughts are often not enough to determine whether we’ve eaten enough or not. The ‘what the heck’ effect can cloud our judgment.
Another example is that we tend to eat a lot more in company that eats at a fast pace. We’re often not even aware that this is happening! Eating slow and paying more attention to your food causes your brain to register everything more effective, which leads to a satisfied feeling.
If a family member has made a nice dish, focus on the taste, the structure and the smell. Really, try it. Take a few sips after a few bites and really take the time for your food.
Is your place empty? Wait a while before going to round two. Ask your body how full you are. Be mindful of your thoughts. If you notice disinhibiting thoughts, leave them be.
Disinhibiting thought: “Oh boy, maybe people won’t like me as much if I eat this slow!”
Supporting thought: “Am I only likable if I eat fast? Eating slow helps me. If these people really care about me, they won’t mind.”
The holidays are upon us, and there are a lot of seductions closing in. It’s a time of joy and being together with family and friends. I genuinely hope you will have a great time.
You can still have a great time while at the same time paying attention to your intake.
Enjoy, and live a little.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prevent weight gain during the holidays?
When you are eating, focus on things like taste and smell. Eat slowly. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to register whether you are full or not, so eating as fast as possible will cause overeating.
What should I eat during the holidays?
Whatever you like, just with a bit of moderation. If you are in charge of the food, make sure to prepare a lot of vegetables. They will give you a satisfying effect quickly due to the large amount of fiber.
Can I drink alcohol during the holidays?
You sure can! Note though, that alcohol inhibits. Foods may taste even better than normal, which can lead to overeating.
How do I burn fat during the holidays?
You can compensate your food intake with some cardio. For example, why don’t you go for a nice long walk?