Christmas comes once a year and with all the love and joy filling our hearts, we still find time to fill our stomachs with delicious food! Everywhere you turn, there will be desserts and turkeys with all those side dishes that you wait for every year. Who knew you can gain more than just presents during the holiday season! Here are some tips on how to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain.

  1. Move it and lose it. Inactivity may add up to the weight gain, especially if accompanied by eating excessive amount of food. Therefore, stay active with family and friends, choose activities with them, such as taking a walk, that will help you burn some calories while bonding with your beloved ones.
  2. Watch your portion sizes, during holidays it can be tempting and easy to eat larger portions. One way to avoid it is to always choose a smaller plate!
  3. Cut back on tastes while cooking. Surprisingly this can lead to weight gain as you can end up tasting many of unwanted calories. First, make sure you aren’t hungry while cooking to avoid over tasting. Second, limit yourself to a small bite of a less than a teaspoon after seasoning your dishes.
  4. Never skip meals to avoid calorie intake. You might think it is the best thing to do to avoid calorie intake, but in fact, it encourages overeating later on and guilt feelings after realizing it.
  5. Avoid some of the appetizers. They are the best opportunity for mindless eating lots of calories. Either seek lower calorie options, such as veggies with a light dip, shrimps and scallops. Or gather all the appetizers you want to eat at the same time to control both portions and calories.
  6. Restrict your liquid calories. Whether it’s alcohol, soda or sweetened beverages, they seem unlimited during holidays and can contribute to a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which will lead eventually to weight gain. Moreover, alcohol consumption is often linked to increased appetite.
  7. Keep your meals balanced. Holiday meals are usually rich in carbs, yet lack protein and fibers! It is very important to add up some protein to each meal. It is known to regulate your appetite and increase your metabolism. Good and healthy sources include, fish, shellfish, lean meat, both skinless chicken and turkey, beans and lentils. Also don’t forget the fibers, their main task is to induce fullness and reduce your calorie intake, thus preventing extra weight. Sources are: Vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  8. Choose your desserts wisely. Desserts are everywhere during this holy season, and this could lead to excessive sugar consumption causing weight gain.
  9. Skip seconds. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly your food. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to get the message that dinner has been served and for your body to feel the fullness. Before serving yourself seconds and maybe thirds and adding up double and triple the calories, just wait and assess your hunger first.

Finally, remember that this holiday is much more of excessive love and joy than excessive indulgence. Focus on the bigger picture, enjoy everything around moderately. You don’t want to carry any extra pounds, unless your planning on playing Santa Claus next year!