Tempting food fest, which can make you gain some extra pounds, is a part of the holiday season routine.
While research shows that the average person really only gains about a pound over the course of the holidays, it can still have a big cumulative effect on waistlines. That's because the extra weight usually doesn't come off the following year.
"Lack of sleep, an abundance of decadent food and the stress of the holidays are the perfect storm for weight gain. Implementing a personal wellness plan will get you through the holiday season without adding to your waistline," said Kari Kooi, a registered dietitian at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.
So, Kooi has suggested ten tips to prevent you from gaining extra weight.
One way according to her is by wearing something fitted. If you wear form-fitting clothing, you'll be less likely to overeat because the tighter fit will remind you not to eat to the point of discomfort, she said.
She also suggest to wear something that makes you feel attractive, giving you a sense of empowerment.
Eating breakfast properly is another simple way to maintain your weight. Kooi said eating a substantial breakfast can keep you from overeating later on in the day and it revs up your metabolism. But your breakfast should include a protein-rich food item such as low-fat Greek yogurt or natural peanut butter spread on whole-wheat toast.
Don't arrive to a holiday event hungry or resistance will be futile, she stated.
Have a light, protein-rich snack such as a small handful of almonds with a piece of fruit before going to a holiday event. Make it a priority to visit with the people, not so much the buffet table, she added.
According to her, liquid calories do not satisfy hunger and can quickly lead to weight gain when consumed in excess. Also sugary holiday drinks like cocoa, eggnog and apple cider can cause blood sugar swings that leave you feeling even hungrier. Instead drink hot spiced teas, she suggested.
She has also advised people to limit alcohol intake. As for alcohol, moderation is the key because its inhibition-lowering effect can quickly lead to overeating, she said.
Exercise regularly and sleep well, she stated.
Set a goal of just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day and get in just two strength training sessions to tighten and tone, she said.
According to her, getting less than six hours of sleep a night causes cravings for starchy, sugary foods (hello frosted Santa-shaped cookies) and dissolves your resolve to make healthy food decisions.
Most health experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested.
Apart from socializing, getting together with a friend to walk and talk will burn calories, relieve stress and help with accountability, she suggested.
Kooi further suggest practicing mindfulness by being aware of what you are eating, the portion size and why you are eating.
Keep portions in check by sticking with a sliver of dessert or just a couple of rich hors d'oeuvres. Keeping a food journal is the best way to raise awareness of food intake, she stated.
People should free themselves of guilt as Kooi says feeling guilty for indulging often leads to a downward spiral.
Instead, channel those emotions in a more positive way by going for a brisk walk. Start fresh the next morning by recharging your motivation with a positive self-talk. Gain perspective and realize that a day of overeating doesn't have to sabotage your best laid plans, she has suggested.