Does the ringing of sleigh bells have you reaching for your stretchy pants? Most people expect to gain a few pounds during the delicious holiday season. And filling your plate with lots of seasonal goodies can lead to weight gain.
However, there are ways to avoid overeating while also indulging in some of your favorite treats. These three strategies below will help you enjoy your holiday without going overboard.
Break a sweat first
Prioritize your workout during the holiday season. Many people think that working out increases your appetite. However, it can have some impressive appetite suppressing power.
Research shows that exercise can be a game-changer. It helps regulate hunger while reducing your appetite. That’s an ideal combination when you’re trying to avoid overeating. Research also suggests that working out reduces your chances of overeating, making it easier to avoid temptation later in the day.
But what are the best ways to break a sweat before enjoying a holiday meal? Ultimately, anything that you love doing that gets your heart rate up could help. A few options to consider include:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts
Pregame to curb your appetite
If you’re ravenous heading into a holiday dinner, the odds of overeating go up. Do you think that saving your calories for later will help? Skipping meals actually ups the chances that you’ll make unhealthy choices.
Plan ahead by making smart choices ahead of time. Focus on drinking plenty of water and eating lean protein and vegetables. Have a light, healthy snack before hitting up the holiday food. Snack options include:
- Broth-based soups
- Fruits, vegetables, salad
- Whole grains like popcorn or cooked grains
- Lean proteins like poultry, eggs, fish, soybeans
When you get sucked into the world of “good” and “bad” foods, there’s often a backlash effect. It’s psychology 101. Denying your cravings only leads to you wanting those foods more. In turn, that increases the odds that you’ll binge on them.
Instead of avoiding the holiday treats you love, focus on eating smaller portions of them. Let go of the thought that you shouldn’t be eating a certain dish. Add a small serving of your favorites to your plate and fill the rest with hunger-busting staples like vegetables and salad.
Looking for some professional help? Learn about the clinical nutrition services we offer at Mercy Health.