Tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain can be handy because the last three months of the calendar year can be totally brutal when it comes to weight gain.
It's a time when extra calories can creep up on you so easily.
We are surrounded by events and celebrations that include vast amounts of delicious foods and beverages that are loaded with calories.
Events such as Halloween, Oktoberfest, neighborhood get togethers and the yearly office Christmas party can get the calorie ball rolling.
Then pile on Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah and of course the all mighty New Years Eve, where many of us may over indulge thinking all will be well because we will make those New Year's resolutions (that we may or may not keep).
It's hard to avoid the vast array of delicious foods such as baked turkey slices dribbled with butter and stuffing that is blanketed with hot, zesty and flavorful gravy that makes our lips pucker up and say mmmmm.
And for those of us that have a sweet tooth (myself included), it's hard to avoid all those holiday treats that lurk around every corner because no matter where you go they are at arm's length.
Things such as frosted cookies, freshly baked pies, boxes of chocolates, specialty coffees and eggnog are just the tip of the iceberg.
So how can we take part in all these wonderful events and still avoid holiday weight gain?
1. Portion Control
This point for me is key and reducing the size of our meals is a great tool to help us avoid holiday weight gain. The amount that we eat is so very important.
Visiting France really opened my eyes about portion control.
The obesity rate is still reasonably low in France, which is amazing since most of their meals include wine, fresh bread, creamy butter, the main course and believe it or not all of this is followed by dessert.
No supersizing their meals in this country.Maintaining small portions seems to help avoid weight gain. Also the French rarely snack between meals.
Smaller portions means less work for your body, similar to how the food combining process works for digestion times.
2. Eat Slower and Chew, Chew, Chew Your Food
Chewing your food well helps improve digestion, makes meal times longer and fills you up more.
3. Drink More Water
Drinking more water not only helps avoid holiday weight gain but reduces calorie intake all year round.
Drinking a glass of water before a meal makes you feel full, which helps limit our food intake during meal times. Water also helps prepare the body for the digestive process.
It also hydrates us, helps carry nutrients and detoxifies the body. It also increases our metabolic rate and has zero calories, making this beverage extremely weight loss friendly.
4. Green Tea
Green tea also fills you up just as herbal teas and water, but green tea offers a little something extra.
It can provide a boost of energy and can help curb my appetite till meal time.
It also helps increase metabolism for weight loss, burn fat, suppress food cravings and helps detox the body which all help in the battle of the bulge.
This beverage also helps detox the body and may help prevent disease.
5. Avoid Going to a Party When Hungry
If possible, try having a healthy snack before going to an event which is loaded with all kinds of delicious foods and sweets.
This way you can maintain smaller portion sizes of the decadent foods much more easily when there.
Also filling up with a zero calorie beverage such as water or herbal tea can be your best friend when it comes to ways of controlling ones appetite.
6. Be More Active
After a big family meal, it's no secret that for many of us, the couch can be our best friend.
If we can just get more active we can burn off some of those delicious calories that we savored at the dinner table.
Make it fun. Get the whole family to partake in an activity that suits your family best. Perhaps a family walk to check out the holiday lights and decorations in the neighborhood.
Or perhaps the whole gang could go skating, sledding, dancing or bowling.
Whatever the adventure, it's a great way to get off the couch, burn off some calories and help stay healthy and fit.
7. Don't Let Food and Drink, Be The Main Focus
This is the time of year to spend some quality time with co-workers, friends and family.
And though food and drink shared certainly is important the holidays are really about so much more.
Great conversation, laughter, peace, love, joy, friendship and good will towards man is the real focus.
The food and drink that is shared with family and friends is nice but secondary.
8. Limit High Calorie Drinks
We know that alcoholic drinks can have quite the hefty calorie count, but so can nonalcoholic beverages that are popular during the holiday season.
Drinks such as eggnog, hot toddies, specialty coffees, hot chocolate topped with whip cream, spiced rum, Bloody Caesars and so on.
If you do enjoy alcohol, moderation is key. Drinking too much can help increase your appetite and over eating becomes easier.
Drinking water or zero calorie flavored waters helps keep us healthy, full and hydrated.
9. Try not to nibble constantly.
If the event has the food in a buffet style there are a few tips that can help limit the calories you eat.
Select a small plate if possible and avoid layering food on the plate.
Go easy with dressings, sauces and dips as they can contain mucho calories too.
As mentioned above chew, chew, chew your food well. It makes you feel fuller and helps facilitate digestion.
It is almost impossible to keep track of calories at these functions, and honestly, who would want to, so again portion control is key.
10. Pick your sweets wisely
Select small portions of the desserts that you love the most and leave the rest.
11. Don't Focus on Losing Weight
For those of you who have amazing will power during the holiday season this rule does not apply to you.
But for the rest of us it can be a challenging time. Try to focus on maintaining your present weight, which means the goal is not to lose weight, but is not to gain any extra weight.
This can be a victory in itself.
Most of us are familiar with the tips listed above to avoid holiday weight gain, but it's a good time of year for a little reminder to help keep us on the right path.
Wishing you and your family health and happiness this holiday season and in all the years to come.
Do you find calorie counting helps you manage your diet or meal preparation? Then here is a handy calorie counter provided by about.com to help avoid holiday weight gain.