The average adult gains two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. And who can blame them, with all the delicious treats we tend to enjoy at this time of year?
Two pounds doesn’t even sound like all that much. But here’s the problem: As we get older, our metabolism slows and it becomes more difficult to lose weight. Two pounds each year starts to add up, and can put you at increased risk of weight-related health conditions over time.
That doesn’t mean you need to abstain from all of your favorite dishes throughout the holiday season. Follow these tips to rein in your dietary temptations a bit, and you can still enjoy seasonal treats without the guilt or health risks.
Load up on veggies. Fill your plate with fresh vegetables first, and you’ll have less room for the heavier, more fattening dishes. You can still enjoy them, but in moderation.
Pair it with protein. If carbohydrate-heavy holiday staples are tempting you, pair a serving with protein like turkey. Simple carbs are released into the bloodstream quickly, spiking your blood sugar. But if you don’t use up that energy right away, it will be stored as fat. Pairing carbs with protein helps to slow digestion a bit, and keep your blood sugar more level.
Continue exercising. Exercise daily, even if you just go for a short walk after dinner. Doing laps around the mall while shopping counts, too.
Exercise portion control. If you look forward to pecan pie all year, there’s no reason you have to skip it. Just keep your serving small. Here’s a helpful trick: After dinner and dessert, brush your teeth. You’ll be less tempted to go back for seconds, because now the taste would be all wrong.
Sip water throughout the day. The temps have dropped outside, but your body still requires hydration. Continue to sip on water throughout the day, so that you don’t confuse thirst with hunger. Water will aid digestion and help you feel more full.
If you do gain a few pounds over the holidays, talk to your doctor about your concerns. He or she can refer you to a nutritionist and help you create an exercise regimen that is appropriate for your level of health and fitness. You can still address the unwanted weight and protect your health in the long term.