It is rumored that Americans gain an average of 5-7 pounds each year, and some just never lose it. To avoid the dreaded pounds this season, here are few tips to keep you slim but still allow for the pleasures of good food:
Keep your exercise routine. You may have a more hectic schedule this time of year, but it’s important to block out a non-negotiable exercise hour and honor it as if it were an appointment with the Queen. Keeping your exercise habits means you’re more likely to opt for healthy diet habits and helps keep your metabolism running high.
Include protein. It is integral for weight management to include protein at each meal, as it is associated with greater satiety. Breakfast is particularly important, as research shows you are less likely to gain weight if your breakfast contains higher protein. Add eggs or turkey, or prepare vegan alternatives such as quinoa, lentils, or beans. Breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional.
Never arrive hungry. Skipping meals and binging at gatherings is a bad approach to weight management. Do keep your calories slightly lower the day of a big meal, but skipping completely ensures you’ll be ravenous and have no self-control due to poor blood sugar management.
- Use the smaller plate. It’s easy for portions to get out of hand. Psychologically, we want to fill and finish our plates. You’ll be perfectly satisfied with a loaded up small plate, but consume much less.
- Eat slowly. Chewing slowly and putting your fork down between each bite forces self-awareness and puts you more in control of your body. You will be more aware of when you feel full.
- Wait 20 minutes before going for seconds or for dessert. It’s highly probable you want more of your favorite. By waiting, you allow the “fullness” hormone leptin to communicate with your brain, helping you avoid overeating. Waiting can save you 500 calories or more!
- Pick your poison: Bread. Alcohol. Pie. It’s important to prioritize. Choose your one “must have” and consciously decide to skip or severely limit the others. If alcohol is your choice, be aware that you may not have as much control over what you eat as you’d like. If you want dessert, stick to the 3-bite rule. You’ll be surprised at how a small amount can still satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Don’t hang out near the food. If it’s in front of you, you will eat it. Socialize on the couch or outside… anywhere but the food table.
A very common practice around the world is the after-dinner walk. Besides burning some extra calories, you allow time to feel full, and provide an opportunity for more quality time with friends and family. The deeper meaning of the holidays is relationships, so enjoy the feast, but remember to focus on the true meaning of the season.
Tiffany is a certified nutrition consultant and functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner and can be reached at (760) 285.1221. For more information visit TiffanyDalton.net.