If you're worried about gaining weight over the holidays you're not alone. The average North American gains 7 to 12 pounds over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. But it doesn't have to be that way. Follow these simple holiday diet tips and tricks and you'll avoid the holiday weight gain that afflicts so many other people:
1. Drink Water - and Lots of It.
Boring I know - but the reason this tip stays around year after year is because it works. Adequate water intake keeps your metabolism humming along at a maximum rate and staves off hunger cravings as well. In fact many people mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating to quench their thirst. This results in more calories than you body needs and - you guessed it - excess pounds.
Models and celebrities all know about the powerful slimming effects of drinking water which is why you often see them holding a bottle of water in their hands as they dash through airports or stand around at fashion shows.
2. Increase Your Exercise A Little Bit Every Day
Everyone deserves to indulge in holiday treats. Part of the fun of the holiday season is the amazing treats that are only around at Christmas and/or Thanksgiving. Accept the fact that you're going to indulge a bit - and then enjoy it! But make sure you make up for it elsewhere by increasing your exercise. You don't have to double your exercise time or sweat till you fall off your treadmill. Just increase your exercise time a bit every day, maybe ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there. It all adds up. You'll burn off those holiday treats and easily avoid extra weight gain. I have several girlfriends who have been doing this trick for years and they never gain a pound over the holidays (in fact they often lose a few!).
3. Cut Back Where You Can At Other Meals
Did you know that the average number of calories consumed by one person during a typical Thanksgiving dinner is 7,100! That's about 2 pounds strictly in terms of calories alone. But not to worry, all you have to do is make small calorie cutbacks at other meals the week before and you'll easily make up for the extra calories. For example, instead a huge slice of pecan pie (which normally will run you about 500 calories) for desert, why not try some blueberries mixed with low fat yogurt? Instead of the bag of potato chips you usually indulge in for the big game, why not munch on air-popped, low fat popcorn? You can save as much as 500 calories and you're still having a salty, satisfying snack. Bottom line: cut back where you can in little ways. You won't miss the little sacrifices and you can then enjoy your holiday meals - guilt free!
4. Eat What You Like - But Only A Few Bites
If you absolutely cannot imagine giving up any of your favorite treats this holiday season, give yourself permission to have a bite of everything - but only a bite! I read somewhere that Jessica Simpson never denies herself any of her favorite foods - but she only allows herself one or two bites. And let's face it the first couple of bites are the best tasting anyways!
5. Don't Eat After 7:00 pm
Experts tell us that the earlier in the day food is eaten, the more likely it is to be burned off. However when you eat late at night, this food is more likely to be stored as fat. Celebrities like Oprah use this knowledge to their advantage and refuse to eat after a certain time like 7:00 p.m. So if you know you absolutely must have a sweet indulgence during the day, try to have it before noon. Then towards the end of the day, snack on healthy, lower carb foods like salads, vegetable broth, fruits or lean protein.
This keeps your metabolism elevated but won't pack on the pounds. I've personally used this trick before every holiday Christmas party for 5 years running and it certainly helps for getting into those slinky Christmas party dresses!
So those are 5 diet tips to avoid holiday weight gain this year. Follow them and you're guaranteed to save yourself the stress of unwanted weight gain. Heck, you'll probably even lose a few pounds, all in time for New Year's Eve!