September 25, 2023

Avoid Weight Gain Around the Holidays

Starting with Halloween, the whirlwind of activity that is the October, November and December holidays becomes an all-you-can-eat frenzy. Seems that as soon as you manage to pull yourself away from the kids’ trick or treat stash, there’s leftover stuffing and pie to contend with, followed by Christmas Cookie Bakeoff Madness… oh, we’re only just getting started.

If you’d just as soon pass on the fat-and-sugar fest that is fall and winter time, then you may be looking for some tricks to up your resistance. This holiday season, skip that emergency trip to Kohl’s for pants in the next size up. Here’s how to keep your girlish (or boyish) figure in tact.

Try oil pulling to help reduce cravings. In an earlier article, we discuss oil pulling as a means of sanitizing your mouth and improving your health. But did you know that swishing oil in your mouth is actually a major hunger buster? Oil pulling kills yeast in the body, and the yeast (we all have it) is what gives you that uncontrollable yen for sugary snacks. So before you hit the office holiday party, swish a few hits of olive oil. It only takes 20 minutes a day and it’s well worth it to utilize its appetite-suppressing ability.

Snack smart, and pack it to go. Holiday shopping makes us cranky and hungry, and temptation abounds when you’re out and about. Before you hit the stores, pack a smart snack. Try some cut-up fruit and a small serving of yogurt (plain is best, but flavored is OK too) or a handful or two of nuts. Keep a stash of trail mix in your car. It’s a perfect combo of dried fruit (loaded with vitamins!) and protein and omega-rich nuts and seeds to stabilize blood sugar and fuel the body.

Don’t forget the water bottle. Having a jug of water on hand to help quench your thirst can be a great way to avoid suddenly finding yourself in line at the nearest Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks drive-thru. A critical water break can effectively stop in its tracks even the wildest urge to order the most super-duper-sized, sugar and fat-laden coffee drink you can find. Not to mention skipping the inevitable donut or pastry that goes along with it!

Keep “dinner-ready” staples on hand in the fridge. Say you’re driving home from work and you just can’t decide what to cook. This type of scatterbrained, frazzled, end-of-day scenario can easily lead you to the nearest faux-food establishment. Thankfully, if you know there’s a tub of cooked quinoa and some chicken breasts waiting for you in the fridge at home, you’ll be able to drive there with some semblance of sanity and toss together a quick meal before the hunger monster gets the best of you.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with natural-sugar snacking alternatives. A little bit of real maple syrup in your oatmeal… a dab of local honey in your tea. Some date-and-nut bars for a treat. All delicious alternatives to the obesity-inducing doughnut and pastry snacks you may be unable to resist in a vulnerable holiday moment.

If you do dessert, make it modest. Europeans don’t deny themselves and then binge… they seem better than we are at enjoying a wider variety of healthy foods plus sweet treats in moderation. Think Mediterranean diet. If you normally inhale a “kitchen sink” of ice cream, try a single scoop. You’d be surprised at how much you can cut back on calories while still enjoying a homemade Christmas cookie every now and then.

Portion control is key. Pay attention to how often and how much you “pick” or eat more than your body really needs. Recognize when you’re actually hungry versus when you’re just eating on autopilot. It takes practice and attention, but in time you can modify your habits, and enjoy a new take on eating this holiday season!

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is by no means intended as medical advice. If you are experiencing health problems or physical discomfort of any kind, please consult with your physician.

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