Whether you’re on a diet, you’re trying to maintain your weight this holiday season, or you’re tired of leaving the feasting table feeling like a stuffed turkey yourself, you might be considering how you can make this holiday season a little better than the ones that have gone before. Even if you’re not particularly worried about gaining weight over the holidays (although there’s a reason why the most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose a few pounds that snuck in with the holiday feasts), you might not want a repeat of prior years that found you groaning in agony after Thanksgiving dinner and spoiling the evening for everyone else. This is embarrassing and uncomfortable, and when you think about it, totally unnecessary. Luckily, the first step with any problem is admitting that you have one, so if overindulging during the holidays is a vice you can’t seem to shake, here are just a few tips to help you avoid it now that you’re aware.
- Snack during the day. Plenty of people starve themselves in anticipation of the glorious meal they’ll have later in the day, but this is a mistake if you’re trying not to overindulge this year. When you’re hungry, you’re bound to eat faster, which means that you’re much more likely to overeat before your body catches up and starts to signal that you’ve had enough. If you want to take the time to savor every bite of Mom’s juicy turkey, Aunt Nellie’s garlic mashed potatoes, and Granny’s apple pie, it behooves you to come to the table sans the ravenous hunger. So eat a little something here and there throughout the day to keep your hunger in check.
- Watch out for alcohol. Wine is a staple at many Thanksgiving tables, but alcohol definitely reduces inhibitions and slows reaction time, so even if you realize that you’re overeating you won’t care, and more likely than not you won’t even notice that you’ve gone overboard until you’re in the deep end and feeling sick. So take it easy on the alcohol, at least until you’ve finished your meal. Consider limiting yourself to one glass during dinner.
- Keep track of what you’re eating. The real problem for most people is that they don’t want to take responsibility for their consumption. They simply want to enjoy the day without worrying about what (or how much) is going into the old gullet. How has that worked for you so far? If you want to change the outcome you’ve got to change the pattern. So keep a running tally in your head or even write down what you’re eating. If anyone asks, you can tell them you’re doing a personal experiment (which is true) and leave it at that.
- The small plate method. No matter what size plate sits in front of you, it’s probably going to get filled with food. So why not start with a salad plate instead of a dinner plate? You can always go back for a second helping if you’re still hungry, although you might be surprised to discover that you’re pretty full after just one serving. And the less you eat now, the more leftovers you’ll have for the weekend!
- The one-bite method. You can visit website after website that talks about bite diets, but most of them won’t leave you terribly fulfilled. The idea here is a little different. All you do is take about one bite worth of each item on the table to start. The first bite is the most important anyway; studies have shown that this is where people experience the most satisfaction when eating. So savor those bites and if you’re still hungry, go back for a second bite of the dishes you like the best. And if you’re trying not to overindulge this year, for goodness sake skip the offerings you already know you don’t like!
This is a guest post written specifically for this site. Opinions expressed are of the author.