As I write these tips for avoiding weight gain, it’s the holiday season. But you can use these techniques to avoid weight gain any time of the year! The holidays can ramp up anxiety for a number of reasons, and it’s an especially hard time of year for folks who have been trying to eat healthier and lose weight.
This time of year can feel like a cruel obstacle course, designed to make you fall face-first into a vat of cookies, homemade desserts, and pumpkin-spice everything.
It’s so defeating that many people just say “screw it” until after January 1st.
But there’s a better, more flexible approach!
I have three tips for you that will allow you to embrace the joy — and the treats — of the season, and still sustain reasonably healthy eating habits:
1) Avoid weight gain by being intentional about your treats.
Just because there are 12 kinds of sweets on the table doesn’t mean you have to eat some of each one.
Just because someone hands you something doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
Choose your treats with intention, not just because “they’re there”!
For example, if you love pecan pie, make that your dessert for the day. You’ll actually enjoy that pie a lot more after you’ve turned down the cookie plate in anticipation of getting your Big Treat later.
Being selective about what sweets you *really* want will go a long way towards limiting the damage from unhealthy holiday eating.
Have some treats this month, but not ALL the treats! Be selective and intentional every day.
2) No Seat, No Eat!
When you’re at parties or events, it’s VERY easy to plow through a ton of (not very healthy) calories while you’re milling about.
Let’s make a deal that we won’t nibble while standing, chatting, or cleaning up.
Instead, let’s eat only when we intentionally sit down to do so.
Here’s a technique to make this easier —
Hold a glass of water.
It’s much harder to mindlessly pick up nibbles when your hands are already full.
3) To avoid weight gain, you have to Pay Attention!
Paying attention to your physical sensations will help you decide when you’re done eating. (Paying attention is something that many people are not accustomed to doing.)
Sounds easy, but it can be tricky to do.
To notice the subtle differences between “still a bit hungry,” “satisfied,” and “full,” requires paying attention to physical sensations while eating.
Research shows eating mindfully is a highly effective way to feel satisfied with less food —and without having to rely on willpower!
This week, try this:
Practice eating to “80 percent full” instead of “full” (or worse — “stuffed”).
Eating to 80 percent full means you no longer feel hungry anymore—you feel “satisfied”—but there’s still a little room left over.
Compare that to “stuffed”, which makes you feel like you need to lie down or change into sweatpants…
The idea with paying attention isn’t to try to eat perfectly.
It’s to practice paying attention every opportunity you get, noting how you feel before, during, and after you eat.
And the holidays are a fantastic time to start! 🤩
Because you can get in lots of practice mindfully eating foods you love and that are easy to overeat.
The upside: You get to enjoy all your favorite foods, but at the same time, you’ll be building a skill that’ll help you eat better all year. 💪🏼
So pay attention this week — you’ll be SO glad you did!
When you’re ready to put tips and tricks into full-blown ACTION, contact Basics and Beyond fitness & nutrition to discuss options for our award-winning personal training and nutrition coaching services in Nashville and online!