The holidays are in full swing and by now you've probably had your fill of parties, dinners and gatherings. Christmas is a week away and the New Year not far behind it, so stay strong--you're almost through it. In the meanwhile, as a reminder, here are 10 ways to make it to the end of the season.
1. Keep a Realistic Frame of Mind
Trying to lose weight during the holidays can be frustrating and if you restrict too much you may throw in the towel and just binge. Instead of trying to lose weight, just try to maintain your current weight.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water, staying hydrated controls the appetite. It is not uncommon to confuse thirst cues for hunger. A study conducted in which participants drank two glasses of water before eating were able to control their food intake, thereby losing and controlling weight.
3. Don't Skip Meals
If you try to "save" up your calories, you will be more likely to eat more calories than if you had eaten your normal meals. If you're planning to attend a party and know that there will be lots of goodies there, have a snack or a small meal before you go-you can still sample some of the items, but you won't be as likely to go overboard.
4. Take Control of the Situation
If you are attending a pot luck at work or going to someone's house, offer to bring a dish. Plan on bringing something that you know you can enjoy but that is still healthy like a light salad or a low calorie/low fat dessert.
5. Enjoy Your Food Slowly
Eat slowly, take small bites, and savor the flavors. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to communicate with the brain that you've had enough to eat so go slow. Eat until you are satisfied, don't stuff yourself. If you stop when satisfied, you'll avoid that uncomfortable full belly and sluggishness.
6. Don't Eat in Front of the Television
Talk it up with your family around the table instead of gathering around the television. Watching television during meals can lead to mindless eating. You'll get all of the calories without truly tasting or enjoying the food. Talking will occupy your mouth in between bites and give your brain some time to pick up on the signals from your stomach.
7. Go Easy on Alcohol
Alcohol is not calorie-free and its effects can lead to lowered inhibitions and increased food intake.
8. Get Active
If you know you won't be motivated to exercise after your meal, do it early in the day and get it out of the way. But if you feel that you've overindulged or are feeling guilty, wait an hour or so after you eat and go for a walk.
9. Give Away Your Leftovers
If you are hosting/cooking give your leftovers away. You know you'll be tired of them soon enough. If you are offered leftovers from someone else either respectively decline, or give your leftovers to someone less fortunate.
10. Reward Yourself
Find ways to motivate yourself to stay active or to turn away from the candy jar at work. Plan to reward yourself after a week (or however long) you are able to meet certain health goals. Make sure your incentives are non-food related items like a massage, a new pair of shoes, or just some extra time to spend on you.
Mandy Seay is a bilingual registered and licensed dietitian who holds both a bachelor's degree in nutrition and in journalism. After gaining 30 pounds while living abroad, Mandy worked to lose the weight and regain her health. It was here that she discovered her passion for nutrition and went on to pursue a career as a dietitian. Mandy currently works as a nutrition consultant and freelance writer in Austin, Texas, where she specializes in diabetes, weight management and general and preventive nutrition. She recently published her first book, Your Best Health, a personalized program to losing weight and gaining a healthy lifestyle. Please visit Mandy's website at Nutritionistics.com.