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Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

With the holiday season fast approaching, so too are the endless holiday buffets, open bars, and vast array of sweet seasonal indulgences.  While many people worry about what “the most wonderful time of the year” might do for their waistline, gaining weight over the holidays does not have to be inevitable.  Here are some easy tips to avoid those unwanted extra pounds without going overboard:
Snack before a holiday party:Going to a party ravenously hungry is one of the most surefire ways to overeat.  Many people tend to deprive themselves before holiday parties as a way to “budget” calories and allow themselves to eat a little more than usual at the party.  However, the problem with this technique is that you usually eat more than the amount for which you budgeted.  To avoid binging on party foods and then feeling guilty afterwards, snack on food that is high in fiber and/or protein before the party.  Both fiber and protein take a long time for your body to digest, so they will leave you feeling fuller, longer.  In addition, since you won’t feel starved when you get to the party, the chances of overeating are much slimmer.
Drink plenty of water: Thirst is often confused for hunger, so staying hydrated is one of the best ways to avoid making this mistake.  In addition, drinking water in between each alcoholic drink you have at a holiday party will help you pace your drinking, which in turn may allow you to have a better read on your actual hunger levels and avoid those late-night munchies if they do set in.  Water is also a great way to avoid getting sick in the colder months.  The benefits of water are pretty much endless, so drink up.
Move away from the buffet: “Out of sight, out of mind”—this definitely holds true for the holiday buffet.  Once you have filled your plate to your satisfaction, take your food to a place where you can’t physically see the buffet and eat it there.  Once you have finished your meal, distract yourself with conversation with other partygoers.  If you are still hungry once you have finished your first plate of food, by all means, go back for more.  However, if you are not hungry, it will be easiest to avoid eating more than you intended if your mind is completely off of food.

Indulge a little:
The holidays are marked with many indulgences that only come around once a year.  Are you a huge fan of Yule logs?  Have a slice.  Love eggnog?  Pour yourself a glass.  The holidays are all about having fun with family and friends, so don’t torment yourself by depriving yourself of your favorite holiday dessert because it’s not the healthiest thing in the world.  The key is moderation.  If you’re not going to have the chance to eat your favorite seasonal dessert until next year, you might as well indulge a little.
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