The holidays are a difficult time for anyone who doesn’t want to gain weight. The changes in routine make it difficult to exercise and piles of food are heaped everywhere. How are you supposed to survive this onslaught of temptation? Here are eight defensive maneuvers to prevent you from eating when you shouldn’t.
1. Pour yourself a glass of water
Many holiday drinks contain a lot of calories, which, because they’re in liquid form, are quickly metabolized into extra pounds. However, if you already have a glass of water beside you, you’re less likely to be tempted by a sugar-filled soda or a calorie-laden cocktail. Make your glass of water more festive by adding a slice of lemon or lime. Or, if the weather’s cold and you want something warm, drink a cup of hot tea.
2. Pet an animal
Petting or holding an animal is a great way to prevent yourself from snacking on the cookies, the candy or the chips, because until you wash your hands, you won’t want to eat anything at all.
3. Keep your hands occupied
If your hands are busy, you will find it more difficult to use them to grab a fistful of snacks and bring them to your mouth. It’s best to choose to hold things that you don’t want to soil with grease or sugar. You may consider embroidery, or knitting, or playing with a computer or another electronic device.
4. Keep your distance from the food
If there’s a big bowl of chips on the coffee table, sit in a chair on the other side of the room. Find activities that keep you away from the kitchen.
5. Burn extra calories
Simply standing burns about twice as many calories as sitting down. So, when you’re waiting for your flight at the airport, let others sit in the chairs while you stand. Walking burns even more calories than standing, so find opportunities to move from one place to the next. Perhaps you can walk the dog, push the baby stroller, or offer to run an errand or perform a chore.
6. Use smaller plates
Over the past forty years, plates have increased in size by about 80%, meaning that serving sizes have also gone up by 80%. However, many buffets provide large plates for the main course and a smaller plates for salad and dessert. Choose the smaller plate for your main course. You can be even more determined and use a saucer for your dessert. Note that this works not just for buffets, but at home, too.
7. Eat mindfully
You don’t want to totally forego the turkey and stuffing with the gravy or your other favorite dishes. So, when you do eat, make a point of paying attention to your food and enjoying it. Sit down at a table. Take small bites and chew them thoroughly before you swallow. Eat slowly, so that your stomach has the chance to signal that you’re full before you overeat.
8. Just say: No
Many people will offer you food and drink during these few weeks. You’ll have to say yes some of the time – we all need to eat – but you don’t have to say yes all the time. Practice saying, “No, thanks, but I’m full,” before you encounter people who want to destroy your diet. Seriously, repeat this phrase aloud in private. The verbal exercise will fortify you for when you need to resist temptation, such as when you’re offered a second piece of pie.
Using these techniques will help you survive the holiday season without your waistband growing tighter. By the way, you can use these techniques after the holidays, too.