The most wonderful time of the year will soon be upon us, and yes, that means gifts, holidays and of course, food! But along with tons of easy available yummy food, comes the risk of gaining those pesky holiday pounds. And if you, like me, already have your body-con new year’s eve dressed picked out, carrying around that extra weight just doesn’t sound appealing. So here are some realistic tips to keep those pounds off without even noticing, and not have to experience the post-Christmas blues!
1. Use Smaller Plates
I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty of times, but seriously though, this is one of the most effective tips out there. Having a small but full looking plate will trick your brain into thinking that you’re actually consuming a full meal, while having the same amount of food on a larger plate will make it seem as though you are eating less than you actually are. So downsize those huge dinner plates, and your tummy will thank you later!
2. Don’t Eat Out of the Packaging
Eating out of the packaging is not going to help you very much in terms of portion control. Unless you have super-human willpower, that stack of gingerbread cookies will disappear without you even noticing as you watch that Christmas special of Keeping Up with the Kardashians (or is it just me? Okay…). Dispense your snack of choice into a small bowl, or better yet, put said snack back into the cupboard, where it can be out of sight, and out of mind. Doing this will make it less likely that you go back for more, making portion control that much more attainable.
3. Don’t Arrive Hungry
I’m sure we’ve all carried out the “ingenious” plan to maximise pleasure from food intake by starving yourself before the feast at some points in our lives. But when you do this, you will be even weaker in the face of temptation than you are normally, and hence proceed to eat way more than you would otherwise. So plan ahead, and eat your meals such that you don’t arrive at a party ravenous. But if you do find yourself hungry, drink some water before hand to fill you up a little, or to act as a replacement for all the sugary drinks available at the party!
4. Have Some Protein for Breakfast
Protein has been shown to have appetite suppression abilities, that will help you stay strong in the face of the greatest temptations, and resist all those Christmas goodies that are dripping in calories. This is because protein takes longer to digest, which means that it takes longer for it to be processed and passed out of your system, as compared to that plate of Fried Kuay Teow. So make yourself a protein-heavy breakfast, and crush those cravings you tend to have by midday!
5. Eat Slowly
Take your time, enjoy the meal and the company you’re with. It’s a widely known fact that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you actually feel full, so if you are gobbling food up like there’s no tomorrow, then it is more likely that you will continue eating beyond the point where you’re actually full. Chew you’re food slowly, and not only will you get to enjoy the food more, but you’ll be more in tuned with the signals your body is sending you.
6. Keep your Metabolism Up
Your metabolism is your best friend when it comes to maintaining your figure, so it is essential that you keep it high even during the holiday season. Don’t slack off from your usual workout routine, and incorporate weight training that will build up your muscles to burn those calories. Another way to boost your metabolism is actually to add some spice into your meals, this will also help to curb your appetite, and increase feelings of satiety. Lastly, don’t take part in any crash diets that restrict the number of calories you ingest, because this may potentially cause more harm than good, and lower your metabolism. This is because your body will end up going into “starvation mode” and protects its fat stores, it then makes use of your lean tissue or muscle as an energy source, hence reducing your muscle mass, and causing your metabolism rate to drop.
7. Treat Yourself, but Within Limit
Yes, you read that right. It’s the holiday season, so give yourself a well deserved break. But this doesn’t mean that you should go all out without any inhibitions. Be selective about the treats you put in your body, and make sure that they are well worth the calories. What you can do is set boundaries when it comes to snacking, which means that you choose only certain types of snacks to partake in. For me personally, as long as it has anything to do with mint and chocolate, then it’s worth it. So save yourself for only the best!
So you see, staying in shape doesn’t need to be all about deprivation, and not being able to indulge. As long as you practice moderation and portion control in your eating, looking at yourself in the mirror on the morning of the 26th need not be an occasion of dread or fear. Do you have any other tricks to keeping the pounds in check? If you do, then please leave them in the comment box down below!
Chen Wei Chua
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