Hooray! The holidays are almost here. I’m so excited for a break from school, spending some time with my family, and the yummy food. Yes, we all know that one of the best things about the holiday season is all of the delicious meals we get to eat.
There is only one problem with this delectable smorgasbord of tasty treats: For some reason, I always seem to gain a few extra pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and spend the beginning of the New Year counting calories and going to the gym. This year though, I plan on avoiding that whole sticky situation and it does not involve skipping out on family meals or exercising eight hours every day.
Here are five tips for how I plan on staving off those extra holiday pounds this year.
1. Snack ahead of time. Going to a party or family dinner famished is a recipe for a binge-fest. Instead, eat a little something like an apple or some reduced-fat popcorn, you will not feel famished and you will have less room to load up on candied yams or mashed potatoes with gravy.
2. Only eat your absolute favorite things. If Aunt Nancy always makes her famous macaroni-and-cheese, but you really do not like it that much, save your calories for something you really love. Take a little bit to spare her feelings, but don’t feel obligated to eat a full serving. Save that for the turkey and stuffing or pumpkin pie.
3. Eat slowly. It takes your stomach roughly 20 minutes to realize it is full. So if you are chewing your bites and taking your time, you are more likely to notice how full you are and stop before you have over-stuffed yourself.
4. Enjoy your company. You don’t get to see your third cousin, twice removed every day. So take some time to talk to him during the meal, and make sure you are not talking with your mouth full. If you are engaged in conversation, you are not going to be busy stuffing your face.
5. Stay active. After the meal, offer to help clear the table and clean the dishes. This small physical activity will help burn off some of those extra calories. If the weather is nice, suggest a family walk around the neighborhood or a tag-football game. This will also give you plenty of time to laugh and talk with your family members.
The holidays are about enjoying yourself and spending time with those you care about. Usually, eating many large, tasty meals is part of the holiday season. So don’t worry about losing weight but rather let your goal be to maintain your body weight. Do your best, but don’t punish yourself if the top button of your jeans is slightly tighter than usual. Just vow to take it easy on fattening foods the next day and put in a little more exercise than you normally would.
The holidays are a great time to relax a little and enjoy yourself so enjoy them before it’s back to your everyday healthy eating habits.