The holidays are the hardest time of year for those of us trying to diet. It’s just too easy to overeat on holiday feasts, snacks, and treats—the worst types of foods for our diet. And we can only say no so many times before it becomes rude. After all, these are the holidays, right? Well, we’ve got a few clever tricks you can try to help you prevent holiday overeating:
Remember Your Goals
As you go into this holiday season, remember that you’re shooting for a target body weight, BMI, or body fat percentage. Just because it’s the holidays, that doesn’t mean you need to let your goals slide completely. Yes, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are all big days for calories, but you can still keep your health goals on track the other 40+ days of the holiday season.
Be Aware of Food Pushers
We’ve all got that Aunt or Grandma that keeps pushing food on us. “Have a little bit more” is one of the hardest things to say no to, especially when it’s done with such good intentions. But as you go into this holiday season, take a few moments to think about who those people are that encourage you to eat more, and more of the wrong stuff. You can’t totally avoid them, but be very wary when you’re around them. Get ready to come up with polite excuses to say no to that third helping of sweet potato casserole!
Eat Out of a Napkin
When at the company Christmas party or a cocktail event with friends, resist the urge to serve yourself a plate. Instead, eat off a napkin. Napkins lack the structural integrity of plates, so they can only hold so much food. This fact means that it’s much harder to overload your napkin, so you’ll end up eating slower. It’s much easier to overeat on cocktail food and appetizers than you realize!
Be Wise with your “Cheats”
We’ve all got that favorite holiday food we just can’t avoid (mine’s chocolate fudge brownies!), but there are others we’re not too fond of. This holiday, know your limits (one “cheat” per dinner) and be sure to use it wisely. If you want dessert, skip out on the mashed potatoes or pie. If you’re reaching for a second helping of that creamy bean casserole, take a pass on the gravy. Cheat smart and you’ll cut back on excess calories as much as you can.
Be Stingy with Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the WORST parts of the holidays! Not only do you end up straining your liver, but you consume an awful lot of extra calories with all those glasses of wine, mulled wine, hot cider, beer, champagne, and Christmas cocktails. Try to cut way back on the alcohol this holiday season—like one or two drinks per week, tops. It sounds like very little, and it is, but it’s one of the best ways to avoid unnecessary calories and avoid weight gain.
Before you head off to that family Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, consider having a snack high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. That way, you won’t be ravenous when you finally get past all the small talk and sit down to eat, and your appetite will already be satiated. Or, even better, load up on a few servings of high-fiber fruits and vegetables. That way, you can get all the fiber you need without having to eat your way through a heavy casserole to get to the green beans.