'Tis the Season to Eat and Not Gain
Do you tend to gain weight during the holiday season? If so, you're not alone. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, research suggests that Americans, on average, gain about one pound during the holiday season and those who are overweight already will likely gain a bit more. So, what's a pound or so - no big deal - right? Well, in fact it is a big deal because if you don't lose that weight soon after the holidays, it can easily add up. A mere pound or two each year can become ten or twenty pounds before you know it. And, let's face it, trying to lose ten or twenty pounds down the road will be a lot harder than avoiding a one or two pound gain now.
Powerful Weight Loss Tip: Don't let the holiday pounds add up.
Weight gain can be minimized (even avoided) during the holiday season with the right mindset and a plan. Check out these simple strategies to help you ring in the New Year without tipping the scale in the wrong direction.
Keep up with exercise. Your exercise routine can easily get disrupted during this busy season if you let it. Don't let it! Make a point to stay on track with exercise by scheduling time for it; put it on your calendar just as you would a doctor's appointment or work meeting. Studies show that people who exercise are more successful at maintaining their weight loss than people who don't. Exercise is an essential element of weight management - as well as overall health and wellbeing.
Eat at least three meals a day. Start your day with a nourishing breakfast including some fiber and protein, and then proceed to eat every 3 - 4 hours. Having small meals and snacks throughout the day will help to control your appetite and you will be less likely to grab something without thinking. And that's a good thing because unplanned calories can add up quickly.
Use the plate method. To avoid consuming large portions at parties and family gatherings (or anytime), use a smaller plate. And then fill your plate mostly with vegetables and salad before going for the entrees and starchy carbs. This "keep it simple stupid" strategy really works.
Slow down and be mindful. Studies show that people who eat their meals in a slower fashion tend to consume less and weigh less as well. One reason for this is that it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time for this to happen. And feeling full translates into eating less. If you are a speed eater and struggle with this, one thing you can do to help you slow down your pace is to drink more water as you eat. Slowly savor every bite, and before you go back for seconds wait at least 15 minutes to make sure you are really still hungry.
Enjoy your favorite holiday foods. Last but not least, it's important to enjoy your holiday traditions - including the eating. Making a decision to avoid weight gain this year doesn't mean you need to give up all of your favorite foods. In fact, this approach can actually work against you. Being too strict can lead to feelings of deprivation and this is a sure fire way to set yourself up for a cheat. And once that happens, you're likely to feel disappointed, discouraged, and defeated. So, instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, eat them in moderation.
Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS RD, is a food and nutrition expert specializing in weight management and digestive health. She is committed to empowering people through education, support, and inspiration to make real changes that lead to optimal health and lasting weight loss. Take her Free Self-Assessment and learn how you can lose 20 lb. - or more. Jump Start your weight loss today! http://njnutritionist.com/freeassessment