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How To Avoid Getting Fat During The Holidays
The holidays are a time for feasting, and for many people, Santa ends up bringing a few extra pounds as well as gifts. You may think this is all due to one big holiday meal. While this is certainly a contributing factor, the truth this that the hectic holiday season as a whole lends itself to unhealthy eating. In this article, we’ll list some easy and very practical steps to making sure that you don’t accumulate any unwanted weight this holiday season.
Reduce stress as much as you can
This might not be your first guess for how to prevent putting on weight during the holidays, but it really can make a difference. With the pressure of travel arrangements, shopping, and planning a big meal, the holiday season can very easily turn from a time for celebration into a time full of stress and aggravation.
Stress is not merely unpleasant; it can actually help make you fat. Consistently high levels of stress and anxiety will elevate your levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been linked to an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, as well as higher blood pressure and other health problems. To make matters worse, stress can also encourage snacking. Many people resort to eating “comfort food” when they are stressed out or upset, and this simply increases the likelihood of putting on weight even more.
For these reasons, do whatever you can to reduce stress in general, but especially this time of year. Take some time for yourself and go for a walk, mediate, practice yoga, or go to the gym.
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Be mindful of what you’re eating
This is probably the most obvious solution, but it is so easy to overlook. The abundance of cookies, pie, and other sugary snacks and desserts to be found during the holiday season can make it all too tempting to binge. It is okay to have a little bit; Christmas and Hanukkah do only come once a year—but the crucial factor is keeping your intake under control.
The true secret for not getting fat from holiday meals is portion control. Simply put smaller portions of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pie, or whatever is being served at the big meal on your plate. No one is expecting you to have Soylent and mineral water during a holiday meal; you can eat some delicious and even sweet foods. What you eat matters, but how much you eat is more important. Take smaller portions and stop eating when you are full. Don’t gorge yourself because “it’s only once a year.” When the rationalizing increases, so does your belt size.
Finally, be sure you choose a balanced selection of foods during the holiday meals. Many people overindulge on sweets and carbohydrates during this time of year. Be sure you are drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient amounts of fiber and protein as well. It’s not just all about stuffing and pie.
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Be careful with beverages
Avoid sugary liquid calories like soda, and be careful with alcoholic beverages (this is doubly applicable to spiked eggnog!). Drinking alcohol can increase your appetite, and lead to overeating.
Do not abandon a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season
The best way to prevent unwanted weight gain is live a healthy life and eat clean in the first place. Don’t take the month a half between Thanksgiving and New Year’s off from working out and eating a proper diet. Make time to follow your normal exercise routine and prepare healthy meals. Extra shopping and errands does not mean you get to let yourself off the hook and grab some fast food. This might sound like added pressure, but the truth is that if you give in, the knowledge that you caved may weigh on your mind and cause you to get stressed and overeat—and the downward cycle will continue. Sound like an exaggeration? It happens to millions of people every year. Don’t be one of them.
Following these four basic tips will put you way ahead everyone else when it comes to keeping off unwanted fat during the holiday season. With this knowledge in mind, relax, share some gifts with people you love, and enjoy the holidays!