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Stay Trim During the Holidays!

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Stay Trim During the Holidays!

Try these 7 healthy eating tips.
Susan Smith Jones Ph.D.
Susan Smith Jones Ph.D. More by this author
Dec 24, 2010 at 09:00 AM

Here are 7 surefire tips to help you get through holidays, vacations, parties or any family gatherings without gaining weight or losing vitality:

  1. Eat frequently and don’t skip meals. A common strategy, especially during the holidays, is to skip breakfast—and lunch. You know a big meal is coming, so you save up the calories for the celebration. This backfires when you come to the meal starving and wind up eating way more than you ever intended. Eating frequently throughout the day and eating healthy foods helps to eliminate hunger, which in turn prevents overeating. It will also help stabilize your blood sugar.
  2. Bring healthy snacks while out shopping or in the car. Roaming the mall for hours or sitting in holiday traffic leaves everyone starving and vulnerable to the usually bad fast-food choices. If you come prepared with some crunchy, healthy snacks, such as apples, oranges, celery, carrots, or even nuts or raisins (just watch the portion size on these last two as they are calorie-dense foods), you’ll be less likely to succumb to the call of the food court.
  3. Have something before you go out, especially to a holiday party or big dinner. You know what foods you need to stay away from. They are a lot harder to resist when you’re starving and your blood sugar is low. A piece of fresh fruit, some whole grain crackers, a piece of whole grain bread, toast with some fresh fruit jam or a nut butter like peanut or almond will keep your appetite at bay. Try any of these an hour before the big holiday dinner and watch your willpower soar while your waistline stays in place.
  4. Watch out for processed carbs. Processed carbs, such as breads, crackers, and chips, are everywhere. They aren’t always sweet, but most are high in refined starch, which converts to sugar in the body quickly. And with no fiber to slow its release into the system, they can end up as stored fat.
  5. Plan ahead. Especially during holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day, try to plan around where you’re going, what temptations are likely to arise and how you’re going to deal with them. Decide in advance what you’re going to allow yourself, but prepare for it so you don’t go overboard. It is okay to taste things without finishing them.
  6. Use fiber as your secret weapon. Not only is fiber supremely healthy and directly related to the reduction of risks for a host of diseases, it is a huge player in the weight-loss field. It also contributes to a feeling of fullness. Consume as many high-fiber foods as possible before attacking any other foods. Raw veggies contain sufficient bulk to fill you to some degree before you turn to the high-sugar.
  7. Eat slowly. Hormones signal the brain when you’re full, but it takes about 20 minutes from start time before you feel it. Slow eating not only aids in digestion but also gives your brain a chance to know what the stomach is doing. If you make the meal last—by talking, putting down your fork between bites or just plain waiting—you’re less likely to eat on “automatic pilot” and more likely to realize you’re full. Besides eating slowly, chew your food thoroughly. You’ll be amazed how much will power you can generate when you take your time and give your “satiety center” an opportunity to tell you that you aren’t that hungry anymore. 
About Author
Susan Smith Jones Ph.D.
Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D., has authored a variety of audio programs, 20 books, and hundreds of magazine articles. For 30 years, at UCLA, she taught students, staff, and faculty how to be healthy and fit; and is internationally renowned as a holistic h Continue reading