Healthy diets beware: the holiday season is in full swing, and with it, a lot of opportunities to throw off your healthy eating regimen.
This time of year is usually a time to be around three things: family, friends, and food. And if you’re on a diet, or trying to eat healthily, it’s also usually a time when you inevitably start to slip up. But have no fear; we’ve got you covered with a few tips to stick to your diet this holiday season. Because who needs a New Year’s resolution to start getting healthy when you were already able to tackle the toughest time of year?
Scale down the size of your plate.
One of the easiest ways to stick to your diet or keep your weight down during the holidays is to use a dessert plate (or any small plate) as your plate for the main course. We often times feel the need to fill up our plate so we can’t see any of it underneath all the food, but because American plate sizes are so large, the food (and calories) can add up. This little trick will help you take less initially, and once you finish, you’ll realize that you’re probably full anyway and don’t need to go back for seconds.
Wait five minutes before your second helping.
Now that you’ve just finished your smaller plate, you may still feel like you’re hungry, but that’s because it can take your brain up to 20 minutes to receive the signals from your stomach and digestive system that you are actually full. This means that if you don’t wait at least 5 minutes before deciding if you’re still hungry, you may be putting more food in your system than what is actually needed by your body, causing you to increase caloric intake, and gain weight.
Drink water while you eat.
Another great holiday hack is to drink a lot of water before and during your meal. Drinking water before your meal fills up your stomach so when you start to eat, it takes a shorter time for your stomach to be “full,” helping you eat less. Plus, it’s always good to drink lots of water. During the holidays, sugary drinks and alcoholic beverage are often served more than other times of year, and these empty calories have a huge impact on your diet, because while you may be eating healthy holiday foods, if you’re washing it down with soda or a beer, you’re potentially adding up to 200 calories to your meal, aside from the sugar and other harmful ingredients in these drinks.
Load up on the main courses.
If you just can’t help yourself, make a second plate or dessert a “one or the other” choice, meaning, a second plate means no dessert, or dessert means no second plate. And if you’re going to choose between seconds and desserts, take the second helping of the main course. A lot of the food you’ll be eating during the main course will be healthier than the desserts to follow, so if you must eat more to fill up your stomach and allow you to say no to dessert, do so, because desserts will do much more damage to your diet than a little more of the main course.
Up your exercise game.
The final way to help your diet during the holidays is to increase the amount of exercise you participate in during the winter season. While this isn’t a diet hack, it can be very difficult to avoid unhealthy foods during the holidays, so if you are a 75% dieter and a 25% exerciser, you may want to shift your priorities more towards exercising, since your dieting will slip and you will need to compensate higher calorie intake with higher caloric expenditure in the gym.
We won’t always be able to stick to our diets, so take this advice with you, and if you can’t stick to your diet, burn more calories. All of these things will allow us to continue down our path of a strong, happy, and healthy life through moderation and balance.