Gaining weight over the holidays is hard to avoid. In fact, it’s common to gain anywhere from one to 10 holiday pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
But if you don’t want to wake up on January first feeling like an overstuffed turkey, you don’t have to. And don’t worry you won’t have to starve yourself between now and New Year’s either. You can even indulge in delicious foods that you love, without feeling guilty and without gaining another pound.
I’ve gathered together eight of the easiest and most effective tricks to avoid packing on the pounds while still enjoying the holidays.
1. Don’t “save up” calories:
Most of us have fallen into this trap before. We skip meals during the day so we can eat guilt free in the evening. Don’t do it.
More often than not, trying to “save up” calories backfires because by the time you get to the party or restaurant you’re starving. As a result, instead of indulging just a bit, as you intended you end up eating everything in sight. And you end up gaining weight.
Instead, eat reasonably throughout the day, including lots of stomach-satisfying veggies and lean protein. When evening rolls around, you’ll find it easier to indulge within reason instead of stuffing your face with abandon.
2. Embrace the “3 Bite” rule:
Instead of piling mounds of every starchy carb or sugary sweet you crave onto your plate, and then plowing through them all, commit to having just three bites of ANY food you want to try.
The first bite calms the craving. The second bite satisfies as you get to truly savor the flavor. And then, finally, indulge in one last bite to cap off the experience so you can put down the fork without feeling deprived.
3. Push the protein:
File this trick under “Oldie but Goodie.” Filling up on lean, organic protein is one of the best ways to keep yourself feeling fuller, longer. Protein is a natural energy booster so by making sure you get a healthy portion at each meal you can effortlessly head off snack cravings and overeating. And you can effortlessly avoid gaining weight.
4. Think out of sight out of mind:
Instead of bringing serving dishes loaded with meats, gravies, and sides to the dining table, serve the plates in the kitchen, buffet-style. Keeping any extra food out of sight will help calm the temptation to have seconds. And forcing yourself to get up from the table to get more food gives you extra time to reconsider the decision to eat more.
5. Try the “No Touching” rule:
When you find yourself facing a tempting buffet the “No Touching” rule is your best friend. Grab a regular-sized dinner plate and put whatever you want on it.
Yes, I really DO mean anything and everything.
But here’s the trick… you must make sure none of your foods touch. This will effortlessly keep your portions under control. And you get to have a taste of all the things you really love or want to try, without gaining weight.
6. Chew your water:
I’m sure you’ve been told to avoid iceberg lettuce before because it’s mostly just water. But that’s a silly reason to avoid eating a food.
Staying hydrated is good for you, and it has the added bonus of making you feel full. In fact, when you “chew your water” by eating high-fluid foods you can satisfy your urge to eat without adding significant calories.
And with a full belly, you’ll find it far easier to indulge in just one Christmas cookie instead of gobbling up six at a sitting. Along with iceberg lettuce, look for water-filled cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes at the salad bar and load up.
7. Share the wealth:
When you’re hosting the holiday meal be sure to pick up some extra food storage containers. When the evening’s winding down, load them up. And then send each of your guests home with a leftovers care package.
Nothing goes to waste. And the leftovers aren’t lurking in your fridge waiting to tempt you to dig into them the next day.
8. Stick to what you love:
This time of year there are sweets and treats everywhere you turn. Heck, some stores even pass out cookies and other tempting treats at the cash register.
Instead of grabbing one of everything folks offer you, commit to only indulging in the sweet treats you TRULY love.
When you think about it, there’s really no contest. You can get store-bought cookies any time of year, and chocolate is always available. But your best friend only makes her special homemade gingerbread once a year. Savor the good stuff and just ignore the rest.
You don’t have to pack on the pounds this holiday season. And you don’t have to go without, either. Using these eight simple tricks, you can finally make this the year you wake up on January first without having to resolve to lose the extra holiday weight.