Avoid Horrendous Holiday Weight Gain by Following These Easy Tips

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve … the holiday season is a magical time. It’s also often disastrous for the waistline.

First, some good news: It’s not as bad as you think. The average person only gains about two pounds during the holiday season. Still, if you’ve been on a weight loss journey or you’re trying to maintain, you’d rather avoid gaining even one pound if possible. The truth is, you can indulge in some holiday treats and still fit into your jeans come January 1. And it’s easier than you might think.

Don’t ‘save calories’ by skipping meals

People celebrating Thanksgiving

It’s not advised to skip meals. | Getty Images

It may seem logical to skip a meal or two so you’ll have more room (and calories) for a big holiday dinner, but this is a terrible idea. You’ll most likely just end up famished and eating much more than you normally would. Keep your metabolism revved with small, healthy meals until it’s feast time.

Eat and chew slowly

Family having Christmas dinner

Take your time while eating. | iStock.com

While it’s tempting to pile a bunch of food on your plate and devour it, you’ll have a much better experience if you savor every bite. By slowing down, you’ll give your body time to register that it’s full. Plus, you’ll enjoy every morsel more if you eat mindfully.

 Fill up on protein and fiber

Christmas dinner

Protein will help keep you full. | iStock.com

Eating plenty of protein is a great way to maintain your weight, and you’ll find plenty of it at the holiday table: Turkey, roasted chicken, legumes, and nuts are all packed with it. In addition, snacking on veggies and other high-fiber options will keep you fuller longer and aid in your digestion.

Keep up on your exercise … and your sleep!

Man wearing pajamas

Don’t skimp on sleep just because it’s the holidays. | iStock.com

Between all the shopping, traveling, and holiday events, it’s easy to forget about working out and skimp on sleep. But feeling stressed and tired is often mistaken for hunger, so make sure you’re moving your body every day and going to bed at a reasonable hour whenever possible.

Don’t stand by the food table at the holiday party

christmas cookies on table

Don’t stand around the sweets. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if the fattening foods and sugary treats aren’t right in front of you, you won’t be as tempted to overindulge. Instead, treat yourself to a few snacks when you arrive, then find your friends and stand by them — you’ve probably got plenty of catching up to do anyway.

Be picky

Friends having a toast at dinner table

Only take what you really want to eat. | iStock.com

This is the time of year when it’s perfectly acceptable to be particular about your food. Browse the buffet or table before deciding on your choices. Then, pick only the things that you truly want to eat. Even if not all of your choices are healthy, you’ll end up feeling much more satisfied than if you pile your plate with a little bit of everything.

Don’t skip dessert

Hot Totty

Indulge in a hot cocktail and a sweet cookie. | iStock.com

You might think that skipping treats entirely is the best way to go, but no one wants to feel deprived during the holidays — and besides, it’s no fun. Be picky about your desserts, too, but do treat yourself. If you’re truly concerned about weight gain, stick to the three bite rule: You get an amazing first taste, a satisfying second bite, and a lingering third.

Most importantly, just aim for maintenance

Friends enjoying a Christmas party

Do your best to keep yourself on track. | iStock.com

Even if you’ve been working hard to lose weight, it’s best to cut yourself a little slack during the holiday season. This doesn’t mean you should give yourself permission to go crazy, but if you can stick to these tips and maintain your weight, you’ll be ready to get back on track in January when the last of the parties have been thrown.

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