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How to Avoid Holiday Overeating

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Updated November 30, 2012

Holiday overeating and it's impact on our weight is something we all worry about. For women with PCOS, maintaining their weight is even more important. Check out these 9 tips about how to avoid holiday overeating and weight gain.

1. Plan ahead

This is one of my favorite tips – planning ahead helps you stay on target because you are prepared to make healthy choices. For example, if you know your office holiday party is at a specific restaurant, take a few minutes to look at the menu before going to the party. Pick out a few healthy options and plan on eating those. If you see that the menu doesn’t really fit in with your diet, eat beforehand so that you aren’t very hungry when you get there.

2. Track your calories

Even the most experienced dieter can lose track of her calories with all of the yummy treats around. The holiday season is also a time where our eating habits vary, so it’s easy to not realize exactly how much we’re eating. Track your calories in a food journal for a few weeks, just to make sure that you are staying within your calorie range.

3. Boost your workout

It’s normal to eat a little extra during this time of year. If you over-indulge, try not to be too hard on yourself and instead, plan an extra work-out or two. Go for a run the next morning or do some extra weight training exercises before your party.

4. Get enough sleep

Studies have shown that the levels of certain hormones that control hunger tend to spike when we are sleepy, making us crave extra calories. Unfortunately, we tend to get less sleep during the holidays because of all the extra commitments. Do yourself a favor and take a nap or at least make sleep a priority. It really will make a big difference.

5. Manage stress

Many people eat when under stress or in emotional situations. The food we consume when emotionally eating usually isn’t the healthiest either. If you fit into this category, find ways to manage your stress so that you don’t turn to food. Build in extra workouts (or start exercising if you don’t already), take a yoga class, get a massage or read a good book; all are good options for helping you relax.

6. Eat before the party

Let’s face it; party food isn’t always the healthiest and should probably be avoided when possible. Try eating a big salad packed with veggies before leaving your house. It’ll help you feel full and eat a little less. You’ll also have an extra serving of nutrient and fiber rich vegetables.

7. Bring healthy alternatives

If you’re going to a party at someone’s house, bring something healthy, like a vegetable dish or baked fish. This guarantees that there will be something that you can eat. If going to a catering hall or restaurant, don’t hesitate to bring a small, healthy snack with you. Raisins, dried fruit, a small portion of nuts are all great options and can easily be tucked into your purse.

8. Skip alcohol

Alcohol is rich in calories and even worse, it lowers your inhibitions so you are more likely to make poor food choices. If you really want to have a drink, stick to red wine and limit yourself to only one glass.

9. Load your plate with veggies

When making your food choices, aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein and a quarter with whole grains. This helps keep your calorie count low and nutrient dense foods high. Be mindful of what is on your food too; ask that your veggies be steamed instead of fried or cooked with oil instead of butter. Sauces and the cooking method can quickly add calories onto an otherwise healthy dish.
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