Tips for Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

As we head into the holidays most Americans will gain between 8 and 12lbs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.     However, there are ways to avoid this weight gain!

Here are some key tips:

Eat before holiday parties.     Going into a holiday party on empty and hungry is a sure-fire way to overeat.    Alcohol intake boosts appetite to begin with and if you start out without anything in the tank it just gets worse!    This does not mean overeating – eat a sensible meal about 2 hours before you go to the party.

Try to choose higher protein foods first because protein helps with satiety (feeling satisfied and not hungry).

Fill up on Fiber Rich Foods – which also help with satiety and help create a feeling of fullness when consumed with water.  Focus on the raw veggies and yes you can dip them in some dip that has some fat because together fiber and fat can really assist in managing hunger along with protein.

Eat some fat – that’s right eat some fat!   Fats also are key for satiety.   That being said a little goes a long way!

Bring your own food to a party.   Rather than having only high calorie, high sugar and high fat foods bring something you enjoy that is also healthy along with you!

Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly – seems simple and it is.    It is also VERY effective for limiting food intake!

Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses – all of which help to slow down food and beverage intake and make you more conscious of how much you are consuming!

Try to Minimize Sugar and Starch Intake – both sugar and starch wind up as glucose (blood sugar) and high intakes drive insulin which results in rebound hunger.  High sugar and starch intake drives hunger – particularly when drinking alcohol because alcohol acts like a super sugar and also drives insulin response.

Pause before getting seconds – as with slower eating and deliberately chewing food this can give your body time to realize it is no longer really hungry.

If you are doing the entertaining have extra food containers you are ready to give away so guests can leave with some of the extra food!

Try not to eat in front of the T.V. which distracts you from how you feel and results in mindless eating!

Consider planning a cheat meal but have a plan for how much you are going to eat!   One meal can knock you off course but most of the holiday weight gain comes from completely giving up on healthy eating for many meals.   Planning one cheat meal every week and planning on eating a set amount of the foods you may be craving can work for many people rather than mindlessly eating.   If you plan your meal including your portions of alcohol, sweets, fat and sugar you can limit the damage and still have a great time!

Drink Water.   Often quoted and still true water is the best beverage and avoiding sugar laden drinks in favor of still or sparkling water can make a big difference in minimizing holiday weight gain.

Workout!   Working out improves mental outlook and burns some calories while reducing stress levels!    When we are stressed we overeat!   Just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference!

Get Your Sleep.   Lack of sleep is terrible for your health and particularly bad for driving appetite and overeating.   Lack of sleep causes hunger and excessive eating because the normal feedback mechanisms that tell you that you are full do not work properly when you are tired.   Basically, a tired brain tells you to eat to feel better and it is VERY hard to resist these urges when tired!