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How to Enjoy the Holidays without Gaining Weight

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We’re officially in the middle of the “trying not to overeat our way through the holidays” season. For many people, the month of December is often crammed with seemingly endless holiday parties, travels, and gift shopping, which takes up a lot of time and can lead to poor food choices and minimal workouts. However, it’s still possible to make it into your New Year celebrations without having gained a bunch of excess weight.

One of the easiest ways to keep the holiday pounds at bay is to practice mindful eating, which is as simple as paying attention to what you’re eating, taking the time to enjoy your food, and stopping when you feel full. In other words, back away from the second helping of smashed potatoes until your body has processed the first one and put down that shortbread cookie – you’ve already eaten four without tasting any of them.

Another simple method to avoid packing on the seasonal weight is by remaining active during the holidays. Yes, it’s meant to be a relaxing time spent with family and friends, but if your idea of exercise at this time of year involves nothing more than strolling to the fridge for turkey leftovers during NFL commercial breaks, you’re almost guaranteed to be heavier by the time your team makes it to the Super Bowl. Instead, remain active by planning your day ahead of time: if you know you’ll be indulging at a holiday party later that night, exercise in the morning; take the whole family out for a hike after a big meal instead of parking everyone in front of the TV; or use the time in between events to fit in a quick bike ride around the neighborhood.

A final thought: one effortless way to counterbalance an overindulgent holiday diet is by making sure you’re still getting all of the nutrients your body needs to stay energetic and healthy. A tired mind almost always makes poor food choices, plus having the extra vitamins in your system at this time of year is a smart way to help ward off winter’s cold and flu bugs. Stay full by snacking on veggies and tame sugar cravings with fresh fruit, and you’ll be well on your way to still fitting into your current pants size come the new year.