Holidays are the best times of the year.
Whether we spend them with our near and dear ones or on a vacation to some exotic location, they always make us stress-free, happy, and indulgent.
And it's the latter that's the focus of today's article - how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays even after indulging our taste buds a little too much.
Note: This is the second article of our brand new series - Healthy Life Hacks. So if you have missed the previous episode 23 ways to stop eating sugar and lose weight, you can read it right here.
#1 Eat a small meal before you head out for a party.
The biggest reason why we put on a lot of weight after the holidays is because we tend to stuff ourselves to the gills with the delicious food served before us during the parties and get-togethers.
So, take the edge off your hunger and have a small bowl of oatmeal porridge or a slice of wholegrain bread before you head out for such events, as whole grains are difficult to digest and will cut down on your appetite, so you don't end up overeating the decadent delicacies!
#2 Plan your meals and their calorie counts.
We are not asking you to stop yourself from indulging yourself during your vacation. That would be really mean of us.
Instead, plans your meals such that if you know you will be stuffing yourself during lunch, you eat a very light and low-calorie breakfast and dinner to compensate for the extra calories you packed on in between.
#3 Don’t skip your meals.
Have you ever felt guilty after eating too many slices of your grandmother's famous chicken pot pie and homemade chocolate cake? We have too. But skipping meals to compensate for this overindulgence will not help you avoid gaining weight.
The truth is: Your body goes into a starvation mode if you skip meals. That's why, you tend to overeat during your next meal, just so your body can hoard some extra calories in case you pull such a stunt again.
So, don't skip your meals.
Instead, have multiple small meals throughout the day, so you are never too hungry and thus eat less.
RELATED - Here's What Happens When You Skip Meals
#4 Socialize more.
People tend to overeat more during parties if they are not being social with the other invitees. This is because the discomfort of being alone drives us to keep munching on something just so we are occupied.
So, do yourself a favour and avoid parties where you know nobody, and instead go to places where you are comfortable with the people around you. This way, you will socialize more, which will keep your mind off the food and more on the discussion you are a part of.
And if you are the host of the party, make sure there are enough games planned out to keep everyone occupied and off the calorie-dense good food!
#5 Don’t drink sweet drinks or cola (or have them in moderation).
Steer clear of the drinks counter (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and you will protect yourself from gaining tonnes of weight during the holiday.
This is because alcoholic drinks slow down your metabolism, which is your body's natural fat-burning mechanism, while aerated soft drinks and juices are packed with so much sugar that they make you put on more weight.
And in case you are unable to completely refuse them (like when it's a sweet drink made by your mother), just have a small glass of it to reduce your calorie intake.
RELATED - 10 Signs That You Are Addicted to Soft Drinks
#6 Drink a glass of water before every meal.
Your stomach does not have an endless capacity. So, take advantage of this fact and drink a glass of water before every meal to fill it up partly. This will reduce your appetite and prevent you from overeating.
#7 Put your value on your body, not your wallet.
Most restaurants have special buffets during the holidays. And most of us tend to overeat in them because we are trying to extract as much value for our money from them as possible.
Don't do that.
It will cost you a lot more (in hospital bills) if you end up obese because of this. And besides, it is dreadfully difficult to lose weight, once you have put on tonnes of it in a short period of time.
#8 Have more proteins, fruits, and veggies.
Stay away from the unhealthy foods on the menu, like the creamy bowl of mashed potatoes and that decadent cheesecake. And instead, eat more of the healthier options, like the turkey (or other proteins), veggies, and a fruit salad.
#9 Eat smaller portions.
Let's face it, none of us want to restrict what we eat during the holidays. So, eat what you like but have smaller portions of it, so you keep your calorie intake low.
#10 Make small health-conscious decisions.
If you had an indulgent main course, order a simple bowl of yoghurt for dessert instead of a rich choco lava cake.
If you are having fries, choose the salsa dip instead of the cheesy, mayonnaise, or the ranch sauce.
Such small swaps will not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it's better to count your victories during the holidays rather than your losses.
#11 Know your body’s cues of being full.
Our bodies give us signs once we are full. Like taking a deep breath suddenly in the middle of a meal, putting our spoon down, shifting in our seat, and relaxing into the back of the chair.
Know these cues and make sure you stop eating once they come in. This will help you avoid weight gain during the vacations.
#12 Take a walk after a heavy meal.
Most of us feel very drowsy after a large meal. But that's the quickest way to put on a stone of weight.
Instead, take your dear ones and go for a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood or in a nearby park. The physical activity will help you digest your food better and will also give your metabolism a little kick-in-the-pants!
#13 Get enough sleep.
Partying all night long once in a year is okay. But if you are doing it on all the days during your holiday, then here's some bad news for you, my friend: You will end up gaining a lot of weight.
So, make sure you get enough shut-eye!
#14 Have a protein-rich breakfast.
Whether that means a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast or a simple tofu salad, having a protein-rich breakfast will keep your stomach occupied for quite some time and will prevent overeating and untimely hunger pangs later on in the day.
#15 Engage in physical activities with your family and friends.
Most of us plant our behinds on the couch during the holidays and munch on homemade munchies, as we watch sports on TV with our family or friends. But if you don't want to gain a lot of weight during the holidays, you should consider a different tactic than this of bonding with your close ones.
Why? Because lazing around on a couch all day is the fastest way to slowing down your metabolism and tacking on a lot of fat!
Instead, plan some fun activities to do together, like throwing a frisbee around in a park, going on a bicycling trip, or engaging in a healthy competition of apple bobbing.
You will kill two birds with one stone, this way. ;)
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Skip the guilt trip after this holiday season. And share this article, so your friends can skip it too!