Holiday gain has become a widespread phenomenon, no matter where you live. All around the world, the winter holidays signal delectable food, delicious desserts, and a lot of premium booze. While the holidays are fun for eating, there’s nothing more upsetting than trying to fit into your size-2 jeans to find they don’t fit you anymore after just a few weeks. Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer through the holidays anymore — or at least you don’t have to suffer alone. We’ve compiled a couple of tips and tricks on keeping the weight off while still enjoying the season’s celebrations. Keep reading to see how you can not gain weight during the holidays and still having a great time!
1. Choose Your Treats
For our first tip we spoke with Matt from Rec Xpress Clayton and his advice was this:
If eating everything makes you gain weight, then just choosing the things that give you satisfaction is definitely the lesser evil. It’s also good to think about needs: yes, you need that banana, but do you really need that banana-almond milkshake? During the holidays, a lot of bad eating habits stem from peer pressure. We eat because everyone else is eating–and with this much food, what are you supposed to do?
But with a sprinkle of self-awareness and a dash of honesty, ask yourself: what are the dishes that you really love? How much energy do you need in a day? By choosing what to eat, you don’t necessarily have to deprive yourself. You can learn the art of eating just-right.
2. Build Muscle
A lot of people — especially women — think that lifting weights will make you grow bulky. However, this is only applicable when one indulges in a high-calorie diet. If you eat normally (around 1,800-2,000 calories per day), you should have no problem with bulking up.
What building muscle does do is that it increases your metabolic rate. It speeds up how quickly you’re able to burn fat and calories. In addition to this, it makes your resting metabolic rate work a lot better. The more muscle you build, the less time you’ll have to spend building muscle.
3. Avoid Dairy
Milk, butter, and cheese are used abundantly in Christmas dishes. However, dairy products are made of a lot of saturated fat. This means that they harden and collect as plaque in your blood vessels; they also become places for bacteria and viruses to hide.
Just like tip number one, we aren’t suggesting that you throw out the whole cake and all of the crumpets – -we’re simply saying to avoid dairy if you can. If you can’t, then just eat a smaller portion of it than you normally would.
4. Don’t Finish The Kids’ Food
When people get married and have kids, most of them gain a few pounds here and there. This is because kids never finish their food and the parents feel obligated to do it for them. Plus, kiddie food is often chock full of preservatives, sugar, and other artificial flavors which are very high in calorie.
It might seem like a waste but you’re definitely doing yourself a favor. When you finish your child’s food, you’re not doing them any favors. You aren’t training them to only take what they need. Some ways around this include creating new dishes from leftovers so that the calories are spread over different days. You can also choose to only let kids take a portion that they can finish.
5. Eat on a Smaller Plate
If you love snacking, a good trick to make yourself feel full is to eat on a smaller plate. It might seem very basic but it’s very effective. Too much food consumption happens when your brain thinks that you’re hungrier than you actually are.
By switching out your long-serving plate for a smaller one, you will feel as though you have a lot more food than is actually there. You trick your mind to trick your body. It might seem ridiculous at first, but we swear it’s effective. Remember that everything is relative: a bigger plate doesn’t always have to be better.
6. Skip Seconds
Every Holiday party has a buffet table — but just because it’s calling your name, doesn’t mean you need to follow what it tells you to do. In this case, come back for seconds. The average meal contains around 300 to 500 calories, roughly a third of what people need to function.
Whenever you go back for seconds, you’re intentionally filling yourself with food that you don’t need. Make the most of your plate and what you have in front of you!
7. Stop Taste-Testing More Than You Should
This is the Chef’s/Baker’s curse: always wanting to eat (or at least taste) what you make. One of the most fun activities during the holidays is licking the ladle or spatula clean after you cook or bake. It’s delicious, experiential, and makes you believe that you did a lot of the work (even if it might not be true).
While this is harmless for one dish, during the holidays there will definitely be more than one dish available to everyone. You taste one thing–and before you know it, you’re too full from sampling everything that’s available. Be more mindful of what you eat, why you’re eating it, and whether or not you need to eat it.
Not gaining weight during the holidays can be a very, very difficult task. It takes a blend of discipline, perseverance, and patience to achieve your goals. Amidst the reunions and parties, sometimes you need to go the extra mile and break some old traditions that weren’t doing you any good. Instead of choosing mac and cheese and spaghetti, why not just pick one? Skip the soda at dinner if you’re going for the beer at the after-party.
Maintaining your body weight is all about discipline. You should remember that no situation is impossible. If you’re not eating more than you should and you’re still gaining weight, explore the option of joining a commercial gym or exercising. Pumping iron can help you boost your metabolism, making you a lean, mean, fat-burning machine.