When it comes to weight gain over the holidays, we’ve got good and bad news. Here’s how to keep your weight in check.
The good news: research suggests that people gain 1-2 pounds over the holidays on average.
The bad news: that 1-2 average poundage takes as long as five months to shed.
In the study, published in September in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined the weight changes in more than 1,700 Americans over a year. They found people on average start to gain weight around Thanksgiving, up until New Year’s Eve. That extra fat typically carried over, through the winter thaw, and into spring. However, some unlucky eaters don’t lose that weight, carrying it over to the next holiday season, snowballing into a formidable belly.
These three holiday eating tips will keep you from rapidly transforming into Santa Claus like Tim Allen once did.
Sip on Soup
The best way to curb your appetite is to eat before eating (it makes sense, try to keep up here).
Research shows that consuming a low-calorie soup before a big meal can help reduce hunger, lowering the chance you’ll indulge and overeat.
Before your next enormous holiday feast, chug a mug of vegetable soup prior to the party. Not only will you control yourself at the dinner table, you (might) pass on those high-calorie appetizers that usually greet you at holiday get-togethers.
Pro Tip: Prepare a large caldron (or pot, whatever you’ve got) of vegetable soup, and divide it into individually-sized, microwave & freezer-safe containers. Keep and reheat as a snack whenever you’re about to head out for a holiday party or dinner.
Go for healthy buffet foods
It may be odd, but your buffet approach can have an impact on your weight, too. And is there another time in the year buffets are this popular?
Studies have shown that eating healthier buffet options will leave less room and appetite for the big calorie breakfast baddies like cheesy eggs, bacon, and cinnamon rolls.
Pro Tip: Pre-scout what’s offered at the buffet before lining up. Load up on low-calorie veggies, fruits, and salads first, then move onto higher-calories favourites. Remember not to overeat!
Related: This is One Easy Way to Lose Weight
Downsize your portions
At least according to Cornell University researcher Brian Wansink, who says our dinner plates have increased by 22% since the 60’s – aka 22% more space for food. These oversized plates cause people to ‘fill up their plates’, unintentionally piling on more food than needed. Even two identical portions on different sized plates can play tricks on your stomach; a smaller plate will give the illusion of a more robust meal, while a large plate gives you the sense you got ripped off, sending you to seek out seconds.
Pro Tip: If you’re adamant about keeping your weight in check, swap your regular dinner plate with a dessert plate during holiday meals. Your portions and calorie intake will be reasonable as a result.