Let’s face it, those of us who claim they’ll diet through the holidays are only setting themselves up for epic failure. You may have great intentions, but the allure and draw that festive foods have will win, and rightfully so.
You see, a Thanksgiving feast, a Christmas dinner, or a New Year’s Eve buffet is what it is. You have to eat and enjoy. Picking at the celery sticks and avoiding the non-fat free dressing will rip the true experience from you and make you feel worse than if you chomped on the chocolate cream pie or wrestled the last person in line for the biggest slab of roast beef.
Accept the fact that you’ll need to have the fine cuisine, no matter how high the calorie count, to make the holiday what it is. You won’t die from a slice of cake or chewing on an extra piece of turkey skin.
But, at the same time, we all need to keep perspective, as none of us wants to resemble the balloons floating in the Macy’s Parade, and I’m sure we’d all like to be able to button our pants when we head back to the job on January 2nd.
So, we need to devise ways to curb our appetites and control what goes in. Remember that any food is alright if consumed in moderation; it is when we abuse and overdo it that we get into trouble.
Keeping this in mind, check the following eight ideas to find out how you can stay trim while still enjoying the holiday’s best foods.
1. Make water your friend: Most people in general do not drink enough water during the day, so you’re probably not alone if you don’t. If you increase the amount you consume, especially while eating, you’ll feel full more consistently, thus reducing the volume of food you eat.
2. Seek protein: Items such as fish, lean meats, eggs, beans, and nuts are packed with protein, which helps to make you feel full longer. If you load up on fats and carbs, you’ll experience those “lows” that make you begin eating again to fill the void.
3. Eat more often: People should really eat six times per day, which goes against the time-honored idea of three square meals. But, if you eat multiple smaller meals throughout the day, you’ll avoid that deep hungry feeling that gets you to eat quickly and in large amounts.
4. Fruit before: A half hour or so before a meal, try eating a piece of fruit, most specifically an apple. The fruit will keep you full on the healthy stuff and limit how much you can put in later that may be less than healthy.
5. Forget the dinner plate: Folks like to fill their plate with all there is to offer. You still can, just don’t use the standard size plate. Instead, use a smaller version and sample everything.
6. Indulge on a small scale: On your smaller plate, eat anything you want, just do so in serious moderation. Have a slice of the apple pie, but don’t go back to finish the tin. Again, moderation is key.
7. Slow it down: Chew everything entirely and savor the experience. Not only will you enjoy the meal more, but also you’ll give yourself a chance to feel full. The stomach generally needs twenty minutes to signal that it is full. If you rush food down there too quickly, you’ll end up putting in way too much before your stomach can say enough.
8. Focus: Getting distracted can lead to overeating. Sitting in front of a football game, which consumes your focus, lets you keep dipping mindlessly into the bag for more chips. Eat at the table and have good conversation instead.