If you’re on a diet during the holiday season, then you might find yourself stressed out that you might not be able to join in on all of the fun. Skipping the holidays is no solution to your weight loss though, in fact, it might actually cause you to fail at your diet. There are actually steps that you can take that will help you keep some of the calories at bay while you still enjoy your favorite dishes. So, don’t lose hope that your holidays will be ruined, because these easy to follow tips will allow you to embrace the holidays and have a bunch of fun in the process.
1. Don’t Skip Meals
When dieting, not matter the time of year, a lot of people feel that skipping meals is the best way to cut back on the pounds. In short, skipping a meal might help you lose weight at first. In fact, skipping a meal every now and then is actually a great way to cleanse your body of toxins. However, if you do this often then you do risk forcing your metabolism to shut down. In short, this will cause your body to store fat, so you’ll end up counteracting all of your dieting. You also run the chance of overeating when you do finally sit down to a meal. This is especially risky around the holiday. So, your best option is to find a low-calorie solution to a meal. You might want to enjoy an apple for breakfast or cook up scrambled eggs as a brunch. This will help sustain you until the feast, so you can exercise more self-control.
2. Drink Water
Without a doubt, it is incredibly tempting to drink your calories during a holiday feast. There are so many delicious options to choose from, which you might not get during most occasions. However, it is incredibly important to cut back on drinking things that aren’t water during this time. You might limit yourself to one glass of wine or other treat. After that, make sure you stick to water. Water will help keep you hydrated all day long and will flush your system, so you can process your meal, especially the items with sugar, a little easier. On top of that, drinking a glass of water half an hour before a meal will actually help you feel fuller. This will help you feel less tempted to keep eating, which will save you an abundance of calories.
3. Focus on Healthy Sides
The great thing about holiday feasts is the assortment of food that you have to choose from. There are so many flavors that it is hard not to pile on massive portions of our favorite items. However, if you’re on a diet then you might consider skipping some of the higher calorie options. Luckily, there are a lot of great vegetable options to choose from, so you might want to stick to these sides when you can. They will help you avoid starches and the high calorie meat options. You might also want to skip out on rolls, as this classic side will have you packing on calories faster than you thought possible.
4. Eat Slow
Another dieting mistake that many people make is eating too quickly. It’s hard not to do this, especially when there are so many amazing foods in front of us. However, eating slowly can actually make you feel a bit fuller, which will allow you to cut back on the number of portions that you eat. This will help you cut back on the calories with ease and might make going back for food later less tempting. Eating slow also helps in the digestion process, which might ensure that you won’t end up feeling bloated and fighting indigestion for hours after your meal. If you have trouble eating slowly then try to engage in conversation while you eat. This will force you to stop and talk instead of only concentrating on your food.
5. Choose a Smaller or Colorful Dish
Another quick trick to cutting back on the amount of food we eat is to choose the correct plate for your meal. If you’re really looking to cut back on the calories, you should choose a saucer plate for your meal. Some hosts will have these as dessert plates, which should satisfy your needs. Using a smaller plate will trick your eyes into thinking you have more food on your plate. Thus, you will begin to feel fuller in no time. The same can be said of using a colorful plate for your food. The bright colors trick your eyes, so you think that you have more food than what is actually there. If you’re worried your host won’t have these options available, then ask to bring disposable plates to help with the meal. Most hosts will be glad for the help and the lack of dishes when the meal is complete.
6. Stick to the Portion Rule
It’s particularly hard to do, especially when you’re faced with a lot of great options, but you should always practice proper portion sizes when making your plate. When you’re on a diet, this can be crucial, so you don’t go overboard. One of the best things to do is grab your vegetables first. Vegetables should take up most of your plate. However, you should be careful because foods like green bean casserole might have more calories than you think. Your next section should consist of your protein of choice. Finally, the section left over is for your starch. You can always skip this section though, if you feel like you have enough food to feed your needs. If you’re not certain how to portion out food, there are lots of charts to check out before the holidays arrive.
Dessert and dieting don’t really go hand in hand, which can cause a huge problem for most people. In fact, skipping out on dessert, especially at these events might cause you to break your diet faster than you normally would. Instead of skipping dessert entirely, try to partake in a mini version of your favorite option. For instance, bite sized treats are usually the best way to go. However, if these aren’t available then consider having half of a slice of pie or another treat. Of course, if you’ve had a cocktail that day, you might not want to go for this type of dessert, as cocktails are practically a dessert that you drink. If you’re careful with your choices, one simple sugary treat won’t tip the scales for you.
8. Eat Last
When the feast begins, it is hard not to be first in line when it’s time to eat. The home usually smells delicious and appetites are usually at their peak. However, your best option is to be last in line for the food. If you don’t form a line to eat, then make sure the line of food being passed meets you last. One way to ensure you’re one of the last to eat is to offer your assistance to the elders in the family or help parents make plates for their children. This usually cuts back on your spot in line. Eating last will give you less options to choose from, which might create less opportunity for you to pile on the unhealthy options. The food leftover also won’t seem in abundance, so you might feel encouraged to take less than you normally might. Being one of the last to eat, will mean that conversations will be more likely to happen while you’re eating, which will also slow you down.
9. Move Around
A huge problem with the holidays is many people want to spend their time sitting and catching up with their loved ones. Then, after eating a huge meal, everyone sits back down to talk, digest and watch the game. Some families even sit to play table games to help kill the time. Instead of doing this, you might want to move around as much as you can. One way to avoid this is to walk around and mingle more, rather than sitting and talking. You might also engage in games, or invite people to play games like charades, which will force you to be active. The more you move around, the less you will have to worry about the calories that you consume. You might also ask some family members to go for a digestive walk with you. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to do so, especially if the weather is fine.
10. Help with Cleanup
One thing that many people hate doing is cleaning up after a feast. However, volunteering to help with the mess is one of the best ways to counteract all of the calories that you’ve consumed. You might actually be surprised by how many calories that you burn doing simple chores. So, roll up your sleeves and clear the table, work on the dishes and even mop the floor under the kids table. The cleanup process will help prevent you from napping too, which might force your entire day of activities to go downhill. Moving after the meal might inspire you to keep going too, which is important when you’re trying to keep your weight down and your health up.
Dieting during the holidays doesn’t have to be a punishment. You can still partake in the fun without feeling like you’re confined to the salad bowl. These ten tips should help you find the perfect balance, so that you won’t feel robbed of fun. Now, you can stress less about avoiding holiday parties and find new ways to maintain your weight and health even when you’re not on a diet.