If You Want to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain, Follow This Beachbody Dietitian's 8 Tips

19/11/2018 - 03:33 PM

This time of year is filled with parties, work celebrations, and family get-togethers. And when people gather, there is always food [1], and lots of it! It's such a wonderful time, so you should definitely take pleasure in all the yumminess [2] this time of year brings. But if you're worried about gaining weight [3] during the holidays, registered dietitian and co-creator of Beachbody's 2B Mindset [4] nutrition program, Ilana Muhlstein [5], MS, RDN, shares these eight strategies to help you indulge and still have a healthy holiday.

Stay Busy Even When You're Off Work

Ilana told POPSUGAR that boredom is dangerous and can easily lead to weight gain [6]. While free time is relaxing, it can actually make people feel more anxious, which can lead to poor eating habits. Ilana recommends planning activities for your days off of work that make you feel productive. Prepay for some workout classes, clean out your closet, or meet a friend for tea. It'll keep your mind busy and prevent you from rummaging through the pantry [7].

Move Away From the Table After Your Meal

If we're around food for long enough, we're more likely to end up eating it. "It doesn't matter if we're hungry or if the food even looks good, most of us will start nibbling out of habit," Ilana said try to position yourself away from the counter or table where food is to avoid the mindless picking before and after meals.

Stand up and help clear the plates, help put the food away [8], socialize on the couch, or play a family board game. Aside from avoiding mindless noshing, another bonus is that when you're less focused on the food, you're able to focus more on your conversations and creating memories.

Look at the Holiday Meals as a Marathon, Not a Sprint

When you arrive at a party, don't immediately run to the food. Think about how many hours you plan on being there and try to pace yourself accordingly [9]. "If I know it's a three-hour buffet dinner, I may not start eating until an hour into being there," Illana said. She encourages clients to first focus on drinking lots of water and talking to people, so they don't risk overeating unintentionally [10].

If You're a Member of the "Clean Plate Cub," Use Smaller Plates!

"If you have a hard time leaving food on your plate, like me, then I recommend you use smaller plates [11]," Illana shared. Big holiday meals typically include several size plates, so she recommends that you hold onto your appetizer or salad plate and use for the entrée course. You can still fill up on food during both courses but using the slightly smaller plate helps control your portions [12].

First Fill Your Plate With Veggies Most

You should absolutely fill your plate with the foods you love like mashed potatoes [13] and stuffing [14], but Ilana says to make sure most of your plate is reserved for veggies. Veggies are big on volume but low in calories so they fill up your plate and stomach while helping you lose weight. Great seasonal veggie dishes include my recipe for caramelized carrots [15], or the 2B Mindset Brussels sprouts and bacon [16].

Hold on Tight to Your Water

"Use two hands and hold on tight to your water bottle, tea, or sparkling water glass to prevent mindless food grabbing and snacking," Ilana suggested. This keeps you hydrated [17], full, and focused on other things besides food.

Stay Away From Open-Ended Foods

"I coined the term 'open-ended foods' to describe the foods that don't make it clear when to stop eating them," she said. We're talking platters of cheese and crackers, chips and guacamole [18], nuts, popcorn, and bowls of candy. These highly addictive foods are hard to track and don't keep you full or satisfied, so you just keep reaching for more. Ilana sees with her clients that these foods are the main causes for unintentional weight gain [19].

If you want to eat open-ended foods at holiday parties, Ilana said to stick to veggies [20]. "Veggies and dip are your holiday party friend, so if you don't think the host will have them, bring them yourself!"

Prioritize Your Favorite Holiday Sweets

When clients tell Ilana that they have a sugar addiction [21], she tells them to narrow it down. You may enjoy anything that looks sweet and tasty, but "you should prioritize your absolute must-haves." If you love pecan pie [22] but can do without the sugar cookies [23] and egg nog, then own that. You don't need to eat every single dessert to truly enjoy the holidays. Ilana said to plan for your favorite treats, and don't waste your time and calories on what isn't as worth it to you (like that fruit cake your neighbor gave you).

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