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The holidays are festive, celebratory, and a chance to reunite with family and friends. The holidays can also represent a serious challenge to someone who is struggling to lose weight and to eat more healthily. It is tempting to put one’s diet and new lifestyle on hold and simply indulge oneself for the holidays. This can be a dangerous path to embark on. Thanksgiving is one of the most food-fueled holidays and it is easy to stay on the same food heavy path until the New Year. By the time you make it from Thanksgiving to the New Year, your diet is out the window.
One strategy many people are tempted to use during the holidays is snacking rather than eating prior to the holiday feast. They think they can afford more calories during dinner because they have eaten less during the day. Nutritionists warn against this approach. The reality is people tend to consume a greater amount of calories at dinner because they are hungry. A better approach is to eat sensibly during the first part of the day so you have much better control over your appetite when you sit down at the holiday dinner table.
Compare yourself to a little kid in a candy shop. If the kid knows she can have everything, chances are she will have a hard time saying no to anything. The food choices at a holiday spread can be overwhelming. Remember you don’t have to taste everything. Research shows people have a difficult time estimating how much they can consume. We tend to overload our plates with more food than our stomach can handle. Instead look at everything before making your choice. Choose three or four things you really want and choose the special dishes you only have an opportunity to eat during the holidays.
Taking smaller, teaspoon-sized bites, limits the overall amount of food that we consume. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that people who eat smaller mouthfuls eat less, and they actually take more time to enjoy the taste of the food they are eating. Eating smaller mouthfuls slows our eating pace down, and it makes the meal more enjoyable.
Unless you have extraordinary will power, you probably will eat more than you normally would. You don’t want to make everyone else feel bad for enjoying the holiday meal. One idea is to minimize the damage. Pay attention to the amount of food you are eating. Americans suffer from a high obesity weight not simply because they are eating unhealthy food. Obesity is also caused by eating too much of the right foods.