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The holidays bring cooler temperatures, warmer feelings, and those pesky extra holiday pounds. Parties, food, music, and laughter fill the days as you spend time with friends and family.  And often, you’re not paying attention to how much of what you’re eating. Come January, everyone is trying to lose weight. Instead, why not try managing your weight through the holidays?

Tis the Season for Weight Management

Healthy living is best managed year-round. While it’s good to build in a little wiggle room (the 80/20 rule comes to mind), consistency is vital to successful weight management. Talk to your family doctor about designing an eating and exercise plan that’s right for you. As the holidays approach, consider the following weight management tips:

1) Snack Beforehand

The key here is planning ahead. Before going to a dinner or holiday party, have a healthy snack to lessen your hunger. If you’re hungry when you arrive, drink a glass of water before you begin to eat. This will get some healthy nutrients and water taking up space in your system before partaking in holiday meals.

2) Exercise More

You and your doctor will develop an exercise plan to fit your lifestyle needs. Since it’s likely you’ll be eating a little more than normal and more baked goods and carbohydrates, kick up your exercise routine a notch. If you’re already exercising 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes during the holidays. Instead of 3 times a week, make it 5.

3) Stock Up on Fruits and Veggies

One great way to fill your stomach with less caloric intake is by eating 7 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Before going to holiday sweets and treats, snack at the vegetable tray.

4) Pick Up the Smaller Plate

Always choose the smaller plate option to avoid overeating. Having less space in your plate forces you to choose only the food you really want to eat. As you fill your plate, minimize the creamy sauces and dips.

5) Keep Busy for 10 Minutes

Most sudden cravings only last for about 10 minutes. When you feel a craving for an unhealthy snack, get busy for at least 10 minutes and get your mind off of it. After the 10 minutes are gone, it’s likely your craving will be too.

6) Eat Mindfully

Fast eating typically results in overeating as it takes some time for your brain to register what you eat and signal you’re full. Instead, take your time. Eat at a very leisurely pace and enjoy and savor your meal. Chewing slowly is better for digestion and it gives your brain time to process your meal and tell your body you’re full. Try putting your utensils down between every bite.

7) Drink Wisely

Limit yourself to only one to two servings of alcohol each setting. After that, stick to water, coffee, or tea. To cut down on calories, try alternating alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

8) Socialize

Socializing is a great way to slow down your eating process. Afterall, the holidays aren’t only about food, they’re also about the people you love. Chat with friends and catch up with relatives, or just get out and dance.

9) Get Your Beauty Sleep

Sleep deprivation often leads to weight gain. When you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re hungrier, you consume more calories, and you typically get less exercise. Sleep restrictions increase hunger hormone levels in your body making you more likely to consume more calories. It also effectively lowers your metabolism.

10) Take a Walk

Try a brisk walk after meals. It’s not only effective in getting you away from the food and second helpings, it’s also great for your metabolism and digestion. Another great benefit is it lowers your insulin and blood sugar levels.

You Don’t Have to Pack the Pounds

Enjoy the holidays without the guilt this year. Remember your body will be healthiest when you eat healthy, exercise, and manage your weight year round. Talk to your doctor to develop an eating and exercise plan designed for your specific needs. As the holidays approach, use this guide to holiday weight management to enjoy the festivities without the extra pounds.

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