Tips for Holiday Eating

The holidays are a time for friends and family to pull out their most tempting recipes and resisting the urge to indulge can be hard. Remember, every pound you add will be waiting for you after the New Year, and a five-pound weight gain can take months to shed. These tips will help you resist temptation this year.

Drink Plenty of Water
Being dehydrated makes it harder for your body to burn fat. By increasing your water intake and eating moderately, you'll be making yourself feel fuller while eating fewer calories. Drinking more water makes sense in other ways too. Water helps your body oxygenate your muscles, keeping you more alert, and helps your skin look younger. To start, replace a higher calorie beverage with water twice a day. Who knows, it may become a habit.

Go for the Low Calorie Options
When you raid the buffet, go for the vegetables and salads first. After you've filled up on those, you won't have as much room to pig out on the decadent stuff. Try using a smaller plate for meals or even just a napkin. Using a smaller plate will trick your mind into thinking that you've eaten more than you actually have. To get the full benefit, eat slowly too. Your mother was right when she told you to chew your food. It takes twenty minutes from the time you start eating for your body to tell you you're full.

Negotiate With Yourself
If you know that some of your favorite treats will be offered at a gathering, decide in advance how you want to handle the bounty. It may be too hard to pass on everything but the vegetable platter, so pick one indulgence and stick with a little of that. For extra points, try the low calorie versions of treats like eggnog and cheese dips when you're eating in. They usually have good flavor at a big calorie savings.

Be creative when preparing your favorite recipes
Low calorie Splenda sweetener can be used in cooking your Christmas cookies and pies, and there is a new line of low fat Campbell's soups, including Cream of Mushroom, that will make your side dishes lower in calories and better for you.

Make a Trade
If you want to indulge, earn it first by doing some heavy-duty exercise. Walk a few miles or hit the exercise equipment. That way you'll earn that fudge or cheesecake - maybe. Don't cheat and promise yourself that you'll exercise later. That probably won't happen.

Fill up Beforehand
Instead of arriving at a holiday function hungry, eat something first. Soups and salads are filling, and you'll be less likely to overeat if you've had a meal. Better yet, throw in a couple of nuts too. Proteins make you feel full longer, and a few almonds or a hard boiled egg thrown on your salad may be just the thing to keep you feeling satisfied while everyone else is hitting the buffet table.

Wear Something Tight
If you are aware of body image throughout the holidays, you'll be less likely to indulge, so pull out your tight pants and straight skirts for the duration. If you need more incentive, make a promise to yourself that you'll by that great handbag or pair of shoes if you don't gain any weight this holiday season.

Set a Cutoff
If you know you can eat what you want on Christmas day and will have some of your favorites then, it's easier to pass on that green bean casserole at the company Christmas party. A little planning will give you something to look forward to and help you avoid grazing your way to the next clothing size.

Concentrate on Other Things
Try volunteering this year. Getting involved in a cause will distract you from your regular routine. Doing good works can give you a different outlook and turn your attention away from raiding the cookie jar. Another good strategy is to change your habits. If you know you're inclined to binge while you're watching Christmas specials on television, keep your viewing time at a minimum and be sure to have some low calorie choices ready for when you do raid the fridge.

A little planning now will keep you healthier into the New Year and keep the weight off.

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