The battle of the bulge is most intense during the holidays. And Christmas dinner is ground zero for the season’s biggest showdown. Most of us will sit down at a table packed with turkey, ham, pies, cookies, and several other sweet and savory dishes. We’ll eat once with everyone else. Maybe go back for seconds. Then, we’ll take a few hours off and go back again.
For some reason, Christmas dinner is the second occasion (Thanksgiving is the first) where it’s socially acceptable to overeat. We’re not talking an extra spoonful of mac and cheese. This is stuffing yourself to the point where you feel like your stomach will burst. Then, when we step on the scale December 26, we instantly regret it.
There’s no doubt—one of the best parts of the holiday season is delicious food. But is there a way to enjoy it without sacrificing your waistline?
Reduce the temptation
You’ve got a tin full of fudge sitting on the kitchen counter. It’s practically begging you to take a pinch every time you walk by. Instead of giving in, take half of that tin and freeze it. The less there is to eat, the less weight there is to gain.
Better yet, stop the nibbling altogether. Every time you eat, put your food on a plate and sit down at the dinner table. This isn’t an excuse to eat 10 meals a day. However, putting the food on a plate helps you visualize how much you’re eating. When you snack endlessly, you lose sight of how much you’re consuming.
Get healthy early
If you eat with reckless abandon all month long, it’ll be tough to curb your habits for Christmas dinner. Try to scale back, or at least be more mindful about your food choices, a week or two before the holiday. This way, you head into the meal with a clear idea of your threshold. However, don’t deprive yourself to such a great degree that you end up binging.
Eat more fat
This might go against everything you know about nutrition but go for the foods with the higher fat content. The turkey with the skin on, the cheese, the guacamole dip appetizer. These foods fill you up faster and leave you satiated longer. You’ll have less of an urge to go back for more. Not to mention, they’re the best-tasting foods at the table.
Christmas dinner should be an enjoyable experience. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Practicing a little restraint can help avoid that pesky holiday weight gain.