15 Ways To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
The holiday season with all its sweet and savoury offerings can be a daunting time for those who want to stay in shape and practise healthy eating habits. However it need not be so, according to Elisa Zied, RD, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips.
Here are some tips which make it easy to stay healthy and overcome tasty temptations.
- Check weight twice a week
Michael Dansinger, MD, an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine says that checking weight twice a week helps to stay on track and yet enjoy holiday noshing without taking out all the fun. Check the weight in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Start the day with a bang
A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, used brain scans to show that exercising in the morning can help ensure better behaviour all day long. Women who exercised in the mornings were more physically active during the rest of the day and better resisted tempting food, compared to those who did not do a morning workout.
- Be picky, picky, picky
Obesity expert Tim Church, MD, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, suggests that it is a good idea to peruse the buffet before loading the plate as it helps to avoid unnecessary foods. Pick the most tempting food items and have it in moderation. This will help in staving off the cravings.
- Just say no— everywhere
Dr Dansinger believes that willpower is like muscle: exercising makes it stronger. The key is to keep a check and practise self-control in challenging situations – whether it be driving in rush hour or dealing with a temperamental kid. The positive effects will spill over to food related situations and help resist the cravings.
- Avoid banking calories
Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of The Miracle Carb Diet, advises against cutting back all day to indulge at an event at night. This is because it is easy to get out of control when you faced with high-calorie choices after near starvation. It is important to have regular meals with lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.
- Concentrate your workouts
Even 15 minutes of exercise can help to maintain ﬁtness levels according to Dr. Church. For instance, jumping rope for 15 minutes burns about 190 calories and a quick yoga can help stay ﬂexible.
- Don’t swear off desserts
Instead of trying to avoid desserts totally, practice the three-bite rule to keep the sweet tooth in check. This helps in getting that amazing ﬁrst taste, a satisfying middle one, and then a lingering third bite says Zuckerbrot.
- Avoid morning-after food
Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers in New York City, suggests sending guests home with the leftover food of a night time party.
- Drum up some willpower
A simple trick to ward off temptations at workplace: Place the thumb and ﬁngers of one hand on the forehand, half inch apart. Tap each ﬁnger one at a time, once per second. Wait 15-20 minutes – return phone calls or check email during this time. The craving will disappear, according to Tufts University Research.
- Cut back on diet soda
In fact, any carbonated beverage can lead to belly bloat, as the carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles of ﬁzzy drinks causes a build-up of air, which can lead to gas says Zuckerbrot.
- Eat your H20
Have a green salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and a few slices of avocado instead of trying to remember to drink eight glasses of water every day. These water-rich foods help keep the body hydrated and improves digestion.
- Brew a pot of peppermint tea
Research shows peppermint can help calm stomach muscles and reduce gas. Chamomile can give similar beneﬁts according to Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of ‘Read It Before You Eat It’.
- Chew slowly
Chewing the food helps in reducing the amount of air swallowed and thereby prevents bloating. This is why eating fast is a quick recipe for an expanded waistline.
- Get plenty of potassium
Zuckerbrot explains that potassium counterbalances sodium, and reduces water retention. Bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, and cantaloupes are rich sources of potassium. Asparagus or dandelion greens also act as natural diuretics.
- Keep calm and kick cravings
Research suggests that women who practice stress reduction techniques are able to prevent weight gain. So, when faced with a tempting treat, try to keep calm and re-evaluate.