Bashing The Holiday Bloat:
A lot of us both enjoy the end of year festivities and also regret their toll on our bodies after January 1st.
And the struggle is real, because studies say the average person will add between 1-2 lbs to their weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
No word on how much of that is going to your waistline, but suffice it to say probably most of it. It may also end up staying there, too.
But there are a few ways of varying wackiness to help you avoid a lot of the problems in the first place…
0) Track What You Can, Within Reason/Sanity:
This of-course goes without saying that you can probably work your way through the holidays if you just have a good idea of what & how-much you’re actually eating.
Then, if you can at-least keep a rough track of those calories and what you’re allowed each day, much of the gain can be avoided if you stick to that number and as few “Fast-Carbs” as possible.
1) Don’t Get There Hungry:
One of the surest ways to over-eat shown in study after study is to go somewhere on an absolutely empty gas-tank. -Like the typical Grocery Store trope.
-Why? Because butter, sugar & salt are a catering chef’s best friends.
*And everything on every hors d’oeuvre tray you see carried around will probably have the maximum-concentration of calories allowable by the Geneva Convention;
-short of just plain freebasing a stick of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.
Before you realize it, and well before your body gives you the “I’m full” signal at 20 minutes, you’ve gorged yourself on enough gut-grenades to keep you alive for 3 days.
And Also: Once Salt is involved, it makes you drink more. After you drink more, you get the munchies, make bad food choices, eat even more, etc.
+ 1a) Pre-Game At Home First:
… So, if you eat at home a little bit first, you’ll be in much better shape to control yourself at the party.
2) Choose The Healthiest Stuff First.
In this study, researchers found that if people see the healthier options first, they will be more likely to pick them.
And because of that, it’s much harder to get a ton of calories, or even “bad” calories if you hit the fruits & veggies first.
Furthermore, fruit & veg will tend to have the highest fiber & the lowest calorie-density.
So excepting the extra sugars in fruit for a second, they will tend to fill you up in the most health-friendly way, too.
3) Trick Your Eyes:
Funnily enough, another study shows yet another strange development in our 1-plate-meal culture.
As our waistlines have expanded, (wait for it), -so have the size of our Plates!
Yes, nutbar-city, but true. Dinner plates are now 22% bigger than they were in the 1960s.
-And that gives the cue to the next hack. Use the smallest plates they have. (short of a saucer).
The greater perceived-size of the food relative to the size of the plate will trick you into thinking you’re eating more.
It will also increase the effort-ratio of you getting more food, which will naturally make you want to get less.
4) Mix-Around & Chat:
If you don’t treat the party as only a place to eat, you’re less likely to gorge yourself.
The more you move around the place instead of just standing next to the buffet-tables, the more you naturally pace yourself.
And you may end-up eating less.
5) A Little Food-Type & Nutritional-Variety Goes A Long Way:
So here, we’re getting into French Paradox territory.
Because when The French do a traditional dinner, there are several small plates.
And the standard thinking on how this helps them stay thin is they get a big amount of nutritional variety.
That way, they get an added component to their sense of fullness, as the sheer number of different macro/micro-nutrients is thought to make them feel fuller than if they had only one food.
Also, the more you vary your intake, the more likely you are to get something that’s bitter or sour, both of which tend to reduce appetite.
And if you think about it, it does seem easier to grab a ton of calories if you just sit & shovel in only one thing.
Even chefs say that after the first 7 seconds, you stop tasting the food & just start plain consuming.
6) BONUS! Give-In To Your Cravings! -Whaaaaat?:
We all get cravings. Who knows why. It could be an actual deficiency, or just something subconscious.
But just the way they tell you when you’re trying to lose weight that Cheat-Days are a must,
Because a Cheat-Day is there to keep part of your subconscious from going crazy, for lack of a better term.
So are SMALL indulgences at the holiday buffet.
If you’ve wanted to try something, especially because of some oddly-charming European dessert commercial, then do it.
But if you’ve been following the previous tips, the next part should be easy: Control The Portion Size.
Try keeping it to small pieces of about 1 inch square at a time.
That way just like part of the previous tip, you’re spending the maximum-time Tasting it, instead of gorging.
-And you still get your “Fix” in a less +/- destructive way.
7) BONUS 2!: A Good Rule Of Thumb For Counting:
Until the new HT app is ready, it will be pretty hard for most people to easily count calories in an event like a holiday party.
So here are a few good rules of thumb until then.
Figure each roughly-golfball-sized canapé is +/- 100 calories.
It’s a good average over the fattiest ones, the leanest ones and the lightest ones.
(btw, the average comes from Olive Oil, which is about the most calorie-dense thing we have at 120/Tbsp.)
Figure each Mixed-Drink is 150 calories, each Straight-Alcohol drink is 100 calories, each Glass of Wine is 150 calories, and each Glass of Champagne is 100 calories.
Again, not exact, but close-enough, easy to remember & better than nothing.
Good Luck, Merry Christmas, & Happy Holidays out there.
Check out the Links for a few more tips:
Photo Credits: “Windsor Gate – Nakoma Club Holiday Party 2011”, by Polygon Realty Limited
• Source(s): USNews | WebMD
• Source Studies: PLosOne-Slim by Design: Serving Healthy Foods First in Buffet Lines Improves Overall Meal Selection