We know the hardest part of the holidays (gaining weight) comes as a direct result of the easiest part: eating. Indulging over the holidays is a common practice, but don't regret that third piece of pie when you jump on the scale come January 1st. Follow our 10 ways to not gain weight during the holidays and you’ll be much happier (and healthier) come 2014.
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Have a Party Game Plan
When heading out to your one-of-many holiday parties, always go with a game plan in mind. First, snack on something healthy while at home (fruits and veggies) so that you don't arrive hungry and immediately go for your tia's flan. Secondly, remember to pace yourself. If you're going to be there for a few hours, don't fill up on everything right away. Take it slow and easy, so that you don't get overstuffed right away.
Remember to Drink Water, Too
We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the merriment that all you're drinking is wine, beer or your mami's favorite coquito recipe. Sooner than you realize, though, all of the calories from alcohol will have added pounds to your figure. Instead, opt for drinking 1 glass of water (slowly) per 1 glass of your cocktail of choice. It'll help save on those calories and save you from a wicked post-party hangover the next day.
Use a Smaller Plate to Eat
Here's a little trick that you should actually be using year-round: eat on a smaller plate! Whenever you approach the buffet table at a party (or anywhere else, for that matter), make sure you grab the smaller plate to serve yourself. You will end up filling it up with less food but still feeling satisfied. This little fix will save on calories automatically while you're still satisfying your hunger, of course.
Focus on Your Friends and Family
Instead of heading to a party and going for the food right away, focus instead on what is happening. Remember that you're there to celebrate the holidays with your friends and family, so focus on catching up with your third cousin or mother's best friend. Work the room and talk to as many people as possible before taking that first bite.
Bring Your Own (Healthy) Dish
If you're going to a potluck party or a family gathering, prepare yourself by bringing your own dish--a healthier version of your favorite! We know it won't be the only thing you eat all night, but having something that you know you can depend on to be a little lighter will help you save calories throughout the evening.
Track What You’re Eating & Plan
When it comes to what you put on your plate, there's a lot to be said for being a choosy. Take a hard look at all of the food that's available first, and then go for what you want to eat. Fill up your plate with plenty of veggies and fruits (at least half!) and only allow yourself to have one sweet. We know that might be difficult, but you'll enjoy that one sweet a lot more when you really pick your FAVORITE instead of sampling from everything.
It’s Not Your Only Chance to Eat
This is more of a mental trick but trust us when we say it works. At each party you go to, remind yourself that this isn't your last chance to eat. There's no reason to overindulge every time because there will always be another chance to have another bite of lechon or that chocolate tamale you've been craving all year. Take it one party at a time, but remember that there are more coming.
Warm Up with Hot Tea
Instead of opting for that cup of Mexican hot chocolate or sugary cafecito, warm up this time of the year with a nice cup of hot tea. Try herbal teas (like manzanilla, or chamomille, which is one of our favorites) or green tea with no sugar (which has been shown to aid weight loss). An 8oz serving of tea has about 2 calories, versus a sugary drink which could be up to 300 calories per serving.
Don’t Forget to Fit In Exercise
We know that you're busy running around holiday shopping and going to parties this time of year, but that's no excuse to not workout at least a few times a week. Make things easier on yourself by scheduling in 3-4 10-minute incredments throughout the day. Take a quick walk outside in the morning, do some office-friendly squats at lunch and run around the block a bit when you get home. It's easier than it sounds!
Take it One Day & One Holiday At a Time
The most important thing to help keep your sanity (and your waistline) intact through the holidays is to remember that tomorrow is a brand new day. We know slip-ups are going to happen. Maybe you'll have a third piece of cake somewhere or drink a bit too much one night, but don't stress about it. Instead, pick up where you left off and continue on with your healthy habits the next time. Messing up one day isn't an excuse to completely let loose. Your diet isn't ruined in one meal, at one party. Just keep going!