10 Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season

These expert tips will keep excess pounds at bay this Christmas.

Vanessa Cunningham Dec, 04, 2012

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These expert tips will keep excess pounds at bay this Christmas.

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When you pick up your plate, don’t run straight for the food that is glistening and appealing to the eye. Chances are it’s one of the more fattening items. Instead, begin by piling on veggies and fruits until at least half your plate is covered. That way you’ll reduce the room left for higher-calorie items. You’ll be getting more of the nutrients your body needs, while at the same time enjoying smaller portions of the food you love. A win-win situation!

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If you are attending a holiday event and you are encouraged to bring something to share, opt for something healthy. You could bring a veggie platter, fruit salad, mixed salad or even bring a healthier version of something traditionally high in calories and fat. This way, you will have positioned yourself to have healthy options to choose from, even if your host isn’t offering them.

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If you eat before arriving at a holiday party, you will be less likely to fill up on the bad stuff. Eat a healthy salad before you leave the house, or fill up on a healthy snack to help resist the urge to overeat. A cup of fruit or a handful of sunflower seeds are great choices as pre-party foods.

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During the holidays people’s stress levels tend to increase due to the pressure to attend social events, Christmas shopping, preparing for holiday dinners, increased spending and more. Don’t let the holiday hustle and bustle get the best of you, take time each day to relax and unwind. Try incorporating meditation into your day if you ever feel overwhelmed, or take a brisk walk to blow off steam.

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Keep an eye out for oversized food and desserts portions. For example, if you see an array of cupcakes in various sizes, opt for the mini version, which will only pack around 100 calories. If only larger sizes are available, offer to share half of your cupcake with a friend or coworker, since most sweets are oversized and pack 500-plus calories.

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Make sure you have your favorite songs loaded onto your phone or music player and get moving this holiday season! Whatever your current level of exercise, try to increase that by at least 15 minutes or add in an additional day or two per week. That way you can cut yourself some slack when it comes to indulging.

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If you drink water before and during a meal, you are less likely to overeat because you will feel full faster. Often times, we mistake hunger for being thirsty, which leads to overeating. In order to distinguish thirst and hunger you should drink a cup of water and wait a few minutes. If you feel satisfied then you were actually not hungry. Your body just needed more water.

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If you’re going to drink alcohol, try to aim for only one glass of wine. If wine isn’t your thing, go for clear alcohols like vodka or gin and mix them with soda water or go for a shot of tequila. If you do opt for a mixed drink, stick to just one as many of them are loaded with sugar and are chock full of calories. Having too much alcohol also lowers your ability to make good food choices−a recipe for fat storage and overeating.

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Often during the holidays, friends and loved ones want to over-indulge and may look for a partner in crime. Remember, it’s ok to say no and to simply inform the person that you have had enough to eat or you don’t want another drink. Don’t feel guilty. You’ll feel better if you make conscious choices and stick to what feels right to you.

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Skipping meals so you can indulge later in the day actually does more harm than good. Your body will respond to the calorie deprivation by holding onto the calories you eat later. Also, if you consume the majority of your calories right before you head home for bed, unused blood sugar is stored as fat. A better approach is to eat regular meals throughout the day and then watch your portions in the evening.

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