3 ways to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain

3 ways to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain

Here are three ways you can enjoy the holidays without undoing the progress you've made in the first 11 months of the year.

With the holiday season in full swing, it's clear that extra calories are just as abundant as the season's decor. Eggnog, drinks with friends and family, plates full of baked treats, Christmas ham and piles of decadent side dishes—each year, all of these and more conspire to derail even the most dedicated fitness fanatic.

You might be thinking, "It's the holidays! So what if I overindulge a bit and put on a few pounds? I can lose that easily." Not so fast: According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never actually lose the weight they put on over the holidays. The fact that this happens year after year is a key contributor to obesity later in life

The choice between enjoying the festivities and maintaining your healthy lifestyle from now until the new year doesn't have to be a one-or-the-other proposition. Here are three ways you can enjoy the holidays without undoing the progress you've made in the first 11 months of the year:


1. Make healthy appetizers and hors d'oeuvres

In addition to the big meals, there's a lot of snacking that goes on at holiday parties, and that's where you start to run into unnecessary calories. To solve this,  let your appetizers and hors d'oeuvres be an opportunity to eat lean protein with a ton of flavor.

Shrimp cocktail, grilled chicken skewers, asparagus wrapped in bacon or prosciutto and cherry tomatoes stuffed with feta cheese are just a few of the hundreds of easy-to-make appetizers that won't overload you with unnecessary calories. The best part is that these are so delicious, you and your guests won't even miss the heavier fare.


2. Avoid large portions

As with any other time of the year, portion control at holiday meals is critical if you want to avoid overeating and subsequent weight gain. One way to do this is to use smaller plates in self-serve situations. Another tactic is to enjoy a healthy, yet filling meal before the party so that you'll only need a sample size of the dishes set out for dinner.


3. Plan for your indulgences

We all have that one item that breaks our willpower and forces us to indulge. It could be a big slice of cheesecake, a tall glass of eggnog or even just that entire plate of cookies. Whatever it is, you know it's bad but you stock up anyway, feeling guilty later.

Yet, these are the things that make the holidays so special in the first place. You don't have to skip them altogether—Today Food suggested that you just plan ahead of time for that one must-have item. This will help you be more conscious of your eating throughout the rest of the day, while allowing you to indulge guilt-free later.

The holidays don't have to be a choice between enjoying yourself and feeling guilty or missing out on all the fun. All it takes is a little planning.

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