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Tips to Avoid Packing on the Holiday Pounds

How to Survive the Holidays Without Overindulging

Holiday DessertsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year again, and you’re freaking out. Everywhere you go, you don’t see glistening snow and smell effervescent pine cones. You see sugar topped cookies and cakes and smell savory roasted meats. You love so much about the holiday season, but you dread all the extra calories that come along with parties, gifts of food, and magical memory merrymaking.

Don’t hide in your house all season long just to avoid the temptation of holiday eats. Follow these seven holiday hacks to get the most out of the season of joy without overindulging or packing on the pounds.

  1. Protect Yourself from Mid-Day Temptation with a High Protein Breakfast. Oh no. Carol brought her famous gingerbread cookies into the office, and you’re starving. Before you know it, one little gingerbread man has turned into four, and you’re laden with guilt and gumdrop button crumbs. You’ll be better able to fight mid-day sugar cravings and unexpected temptations if you start with a healthy breakfast that includes hunger-quenching protein. Consider a healthy protein shake as a way to start your day off right.
  2. Eat Something Healthy Before Grocery Shopping. Not only are you surrounded by holiday treats at home, the office, and all your friends’ houses, you’re surrounded at the grocery store. Walk through the bakery this time of year and it’s even more tempting than usual since it’s packed with holiday cookies, fruit cake, and yule logs. Researchers from Cornell University found that if you eat something healthy before you grocery shop, you’ll be less likely to add unnecessary junk food items to your cart. Never grocery shop hungry, or else your bad decisions will follow you home for the holidays in the form of pumpkin spice ice cream, pumpkin spice bagels, and pumpkin spice potato chips (oh yes, they’re real).
  3. Don’t Skip Your Daily Workout. Your calendar may be filled with parties, shopping, and other holiday commitments, but it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting exercise daily. Thirty minutes of exercise five days a week will help you stay energized, burn calories, and make better dietary decisions. And yes, mall walking can count.
  4. Don’t Skip Meals Before Holiday Parties. Admit it. You skipped lunch before your Thanksgiving dinner, didn’t you? Let us guess. You figured you’d eat the equivalent of two of your regular meals during your Thanksgiving feast, so you would be better off skipping lunch. This choice can be an all-too-easy diet mistake. You’re better off eating a small, healthy meal before that big dinner party. Walk into cocktail hour starving, and you’ll be more likely to indulge in extra hors-d’oeuvres and chug an extra pint. Take the edge off your cravings with a healthy lunch so you can enjoy the company of the other party guests, and make sensible choices, no matter what’s on the menu.
  5. Take Your Dog for an Extra Walk (or Two). It can be tempting to stay indoors when the weather turns cold, but you and your dog both need to get your 10,000 steps in for the day. Commit to walking your dog before, or after dinner every day. Or, step up the challenge and walk him before and after dinner. We’re sure he’ll thank you with lots of extra love.
  6. Put Away Your Loose-Fitting Sweats. On chilly weekend days, all you want is to cozy up in warm sweatpants, but doing so may thwart your diet plan. When you regularly wear loose-fitting clothes, it can be easier not to notice the addition of a few extra pounds. Instead, choose formfitting clothing that makes you feel confident. It will encourage you to exercise and make healthy meal decisions throughout the day when you’re not hiding under layers of cotton-polyester blend.
  7. Stop Drinking Soda. Just Stop. Empty calories that come from sugary drinks can quickly lead to extra pounds you never saw coming. Always choose water over pop, sweet teas, energy drinks, and that extra glass of wine, especially during the holidays. Not only will you cut back on calories, drinking plenty of water will help you stay hydrated, shed pounds, curb cravings, and make healthy decisions throughout the day.

Remember, you don’t have to fear the holidays or go into December feeling resigned to weight gain. Yes, you will face extra food temptations, and your calendar will make it harder to find time for exercise this season, but consider it a challenge to head into 2018 as the best version of you possible—healthy, happy, and confident.

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