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ERSOY: Minimizing weight gain during the holidays

Holidays are the most fun and enjoyable times with our families and friends. Especially at Christmas, when most of us are busy buying gifts for everyone, maybe even including ourselves! And we’re also trying hard to finish our work or projects before the new year. One of my favorite parts is trying new recipes and enjoying them with loved ones.

That all sounds great, although at the same time probably most of us gain at least a few pounds during the holiday season. Food nourishes our body but it also nourishes our soul too, and it makes us feels good. But almost everything that is good does come with a little price to pay. So how can we minimize our weight gain and still enjoy our food?

Actually, there are several things that we can do and still eat delicious foods. Here are some tips, I practice these myself too and hopefully they will help you.

First, we can change our perception of how we see the holidays. They are very special times, however there are so special times with birthdays, parties, or something else to celebrate. So it helps to remember that this is not the only time that we can eat, and instead of thinking that we need to go all out and eat all that we can we can see this as just one of many celebrations.

Especially if you are on a calorie restricted diet then you can take a diet break for one week and eat normally. This will actually mentally and physically help when you go back to dieting again. If you are not on a diet then you can still keep everything the same, which means not over consuming but also not starving yourself after, and you will then actually enjoy eating the food much more without any feelings of guilt.

After a meal it can also be very helpful to try and take a 10 minute walk. Actually it doesn’t have to be walking, any type of activity is helpful, even something like clearing the table and washing the dishes by hand. This will help reduce your blood sugar which means that you will not feel hungry so soon again.

It will also help a lot if you try to not to eat snacks. Instead, you can sit down and eat a bigger meal when you need to, but try to avoid the snacking in-between meals.

If you have previously practiced time-restricted eating, which means limiting the hours that you are eating and fasting for other hours of the day, then you can try 13 to 16 hours without food or drinking any calories. That really just means stopping eating and drinking (except water or something like tea, without any calories) a little bit earlier in the evening and starting a little bit later in the morning, but it may help reduce or control your food intake during the hours that you are eating.

I personally eat my protein with each meal first and stay away from mixing my foods too much. Like most of us I love sweets too, so I eat them after my protein meal so I can enjoy what I really want to eat. Protein can also help curb your hunger.

Also make sure that you are well hydrated. If you are dehydrated then most likely you will want to eat more, so drink a couple of glasses of water before your meal.

Ultimately, enjoying the time not only with foods but also seeing your family and friends and feeling good and grateful at whatever you can will improve your holiday spirit. Whatever your current position is, we always have something to be grateful for. And yes, you could eat however you want now and start dieting after the holidays, but remember that the more weight you add now the more challenging it will be later. With a few little adjustments you can enjoy your meal without feeling guilt and without putting on a lot of weight.


Ayda Ersoy is a nutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.); master trainer (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro); registered yoga teacher; founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness; and founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System.
Source: The Garden Island

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