During the months of November, December, and January – it can be the best of times; it can also be the fattest of times. Within this time period, it seems like the gluttony never ends with endless holidays and feasts all around! For many of the Asians out there, you know – our holiday weight gain period doesn’t end until after Chinese New Year so of course it seems inevitable that our new years resolution will probably to work off what we gained in the last few months.
Holidays should not be stressful (even though often time, it can very well be!) It should be a loving joyous occasion where everybody gathers and celebrates the holidays while having delicious food. However, more often than not, people tend to over-indulge and that is when the scale seems to creep up a few pounds post-holiday season.
So how can we avoid what seems to be the inevitable holiday weight gain?
1) Portion Control
Similar to what happens at a buffet, you should imagine what you would typically eat on a regular plate size at dinner and simply consume that amount. When you go to a buffet, what typically happens is that people overeat given the option that they can continuously replenish their plate. During the holidays, it Is always better to have too much food than too late and that is why whoever is hosting will tend to cook or cater much more than needed. So just remember what you normally consume and know when to stop when you feel comfortably full.
2) Take Your Time and Enjoy
Never arrive to a party famished. Some people mistakenly believe that they will save up on their calories during the day in anticipation of having a large meal at night. This not only messes with your metabolism but you will arrive to the occasion so hungry that you may eat much more than you need in a very short period of time. Try to arrive slightly peckish so you can enjoy the food but not ravenous. If you do arrive hungry, start with a glass of water and wait before you start picking at the food!
Also, do pace yourself. Take your time, enjoy, socialize and don’t just go in and start shoving your face with everything in sight. Try to focus on other things that are more important such as your family and friends’ company. Put your fork down after a few bites and by eating slower, your brain will register when you are full more accurately.
3) Limit Your Alcohol
As much as the holidays are about food, it is also the time to drink. Try to avoid drinking too much because not only does alcohol contain quite a few calories, it can also make you lose control over what and how much you eat. Instead, try going for some sparkling water or club soda so at least you have something in your hand and not feel out of place.
4) Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth
This is the part I personally hate the most. When it comes to the dessert part of the dinner, try to get your fix with as small of a portion as you can. For me, I’ll choose the one that can get my cravings out of the way with the least amount needed such as chocolate. Try to avoid the very creamy and buttery desserts or pastries and cakes and opt for some fresh berries and fruits instead. Even better, if you want to be a good guest and bring your own food as a treat for everyone, you can offer a low-calorie dessert that you know you will enjoy.
5) Get Active
Even though it is the time to enjoy and have fun, it is important to stay active and exercise during this time. It can start even right after dinner by burning extra calories helping the host clean up and put everything away. Initiate some games after or play some music and start dancing before everyone gets food coma and sleeps on the couch! As for your exercise regiment, just continue at it and get off your butt – a few extra minutes at the gym also won’t hurt if you have over-indulged a bit!
Happy holidays everyone!