10 Tips to Not Overeat
Last Updated: Dec 07, 2012
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Holiday get-togethers, with their spread of scrumptious goodies, are like a license to let go, the signal to abandon your hard work and discipline for just a few days or weeks. But don’t let the joy of the season leave you sitting around the table in a food coma. Instead, practice mindful eating and use simple tricks to ensure you don’t blow your healthy lifestyle.
If your eyes are bigger than your stomach at every holiday feast, avoid binging behavior that can leave you feeling bloated and miserable. Instead, eat regular balanced meals during the day prior to attending any holiday gathering, said Dr. Elizabeth Waterman, psychotherapist at Morningside Recovery Center in California. “Eating throughout the day will help prevent binging behavior that typically occurs when people starve themselves throughout the day.”
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Snacking and overeating often get the best of us when a glass of wine or mixed drink is part of the holiday feast. “If you are going to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and drink at least 8 ounces of water in between each alcoholic beverage,” said Waterman. “This will help keep you hydrated and full to prevent overeating and drinking.”
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SELECT SMALLER PLATES
It’s tempting to fill your plate when the holiday spread is full of your favorites. Limit your food intake by using a small plate when selecting all the fixings, said Waterman. “Filling a smaller plate tricks the brain into thinking there is more food than is actually present,” she said. “Avoid the large plates because we tend to feel deprived if we put small amounts of food on large plates and are then likely to go back for seconds.”
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SELECT VITAMIN-RICH FOODS
Pass over that piece of pie and opt for healthy, nutrient-dense foods this holiday season. Dark green salad, vegetable dishes and pieces of white meat turkey are all healthy selections that can be added to your plate first so there is less room for other calorie-packed foods, said Waterman. If you are attending a potluck, consider creating a healthy dish that fits in with your healthy eating habits.
PILE ON THE VEGGIES
If you find yourself bulging after the holidays, consider the types of foods that are filling you up and causing you to overeat at each feast. Be selective and fill half your plate with vegetables, raw or cooked, said Jill Nussinow, registered dietitian and author of “The Veggie Queen.” “Eat only your favorite foods in small portions, leave food on your plate and only fill your plate once.”
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From cream puffs to gingerbread cookies to candy canes, it's pretty hard to resist the overflowing bounty of holiday sweets. And while a few indulgences may make the holidays merrier, overdoing it can backfire and make you feel blue from sugar crashes. “Sugar sets us up for a blood sugar roller coaster ride,” said Dr. Lori Shemek, nutritional consultant and author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn.” “When our blood sugar falls, our bodies want to stabilize it, and the first source most people reach for is more sugar. And, the cycle continues.”
DRINK GREEN TEA
While watching your food portions, consider the benefits of bulking up your beverage with green tea. “Green tea is a thermogenic food because it causes the body to release more heat and burn more calories while in a resting state,” said Shemek. “It also prevents the generation of new fat cells and the formation of fatty tissue.”
CHOOSE LEAN PROTEIN
Get choosy while surveying the buffet table. Go lean with proteins. “Eating lean protein stops overeating and cravings in its tracks,” said Shemek. “Eat protein before the holiday party or event because protein also triggers the release of the hormone glucagon that releases fat to be burned for energy.”
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KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Stop eating when you’re full, recommends Christine Avanti, nutritionist, chef and author of “Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food.” Although a table with freshly made steaming dishes is tempting, if at the end of the day you can’t button your shirt, you need antacids and experience physical pain, it may not be worth it. “Practice mindful eating and not only will you enjoy all the pleasures of that lovingly cooked meal, you’ll have more leftovers which can go in the freezer,” said Avanti.
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GIVE IT A REST
The holiday routine can be exhausting, which is why it’s crucial you get enough rest to maintain your healthy lifestyle. “Getting enough sleep is key to overall health and wellness, not to mention your ability to maintain your ideal weight,” said Avanti. “Sleep well, eat well and enjoy what the holiday has to offer.”
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