The holidays are approaching and as Filipinos, we have the tradition of celebrating Christmas and New Year by eating our favorite Christmas food with our family and friends. And for about two weeks, you have nothing to eat but leftovers from the two festivities. One of the problems Filipinos during this time is gaining weight.
The hard part during the Christmas season is controlling yourself from eating because everything is a delicacy. However, eating your favorite food during your Noche Buena does not have to come with a compromise. You can maintain your weight in the middle of the holidays using these tips.
Watch your portion sizes
The main reason why people gain weight is not because of eating too many carbs. It is because of eating way too much food that exceeds their needed calories. This means that those who eat bigger portions of food will gain weight easier than those who don’t. The best solution to this problem is to watch your portion sizes.
The best way to portion sizes is through getting little pieces of food from time to time rather than eating one huge portion at once. You can also read food labels if you want to know the appropriate portion size for your food. Always put in your mind that you can get another serving later.
Exercise despite the holidays
If you have a workout routine, make sure to stay consistent despite the holidays. Yes, hanging out with your family and eating feels better than exercising but you should resist the temptation. The best way to maintain a consistent workout schedule is by dividing the days when you’ll exercise and the number of exercises you will do.
If you can’t stay consistent on your workout schedule, the better alternative is working out in your free time during the holidays. At least, you’ll have days where you’ll burn more calories. And once you burn more calories, this means that you can eat more without getting fat.
Snacks can make you gain weight silently during the holidays. Most Noche Buena snacks contain huge amounts of calories but do not provide any nutritional value. Plus, Noche Buena snacks cannot make you full but will make you want more. If you can cut off sugary snacks completely, the better.
However, this is nearly impossible since Noche Buena snacks are everywhere during the holiday season. What you can do is eat some Noche Buena snacks from time to time then wash them off by drinking a bottle of water. Water helps in preventing cravings from happening. The next best solution is to eat fruits and veggie snacks instead.
Control your sleep
The holidays can surely disrupt your sleeping pattern as there are different gatherings going on. The sad fact is that sleep deprivation is associated with weight gain. There are studies that also show that people who are sleep-deprived tend to be hungrier. On the other hand, oversleeping can also be a problem.
The climate is colder during December which makes people sleepier, especially when they eat too much from their holiday feasts. For a night of better sleep, stick to your bedtime ritual to fall asleep better. And if you are taking naps, make sure that they are short ones so you won’t oversleep. It is best if you also turn on your alarm to wake you up.
Avoid drinks that are high in calories
Avoiding drinks with high calories is also nearly impossible during the holidays. From Christmas to New Year, you’ll see soft drinks, juices, and liquor everywhere you go. There might be multiple drinking sessions between those dates. These drinks, especially alcohol, have almost a hundred calories per glass.
If you can avoid drinking these drinks as much as possible, the better. But if you can’t, the best thing to do is limit yourself to one to two glasses. And to trick your brain, you can put ice on your drink so it will appear that you have a glass full when in reality, the ice makes half of your drink. To avoid excess calorie consumption, refrain from desserts.
Suggested Read: Are you a Coffee lover?
Eat more protein
Our Filipino Christmas meals are mostly composed of carbs. There’s no such thing as good and bad food and you shouldn’t cut carbs away from your diet because they give you energy. What you should do is control your carb intake and have your meals with more protein and fewer carbs.
Carbs give you more energy throughout the day, but protein is essential in muscle building and making you full. Why do you think bodybuilders eat more protein than carbs? It is because it’s beneficial for their muscle growth. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and some plants are good sources of protein.
Use smaller plates
Using a smaller plate can also trick your brain that you have enough food already. Most of the time, people want to fill their plates with food without them realizing that they are overeating already. Having a bigger plate creates a visual illusion that you need more, even if you already had enough according to a study.
What you can do is have a smaller plate and a bigger glass. This bigger glass is solely reserved for water and nothing else. Before you eat, drink a glass of water and take huge gulps every time you swallow food. This way, you will be full faster and you get to stay hydrated during the holiday season.
During the holidays, you’ll have to go to multiple events and there will be food there. If you know the gatherings that will happen as early as possible, you’ll be able to plan your calorie intake during that day. You can also put the dates where you’ll exercise and the dates where you’ll need to sleep more.
If you can ask about the foods that will be served at a gathering, the better. That way, you can have a meal prep of what you should eat during the event.
Suggested Read: 7 Things You Must Have Before Move-In
Keep in mind that gaining a couple of pounds during the holidays is completely normal. You do not have to stick to a diet this season as it can only make things worse. Once you got a craving for something, eat a small portion. Restricting yourself from eating certain foods will most likely cause you to eat more as a reward for your behavior.
You should also know that if you ever eat too much, you should not feel down. To gain weight, you have to eat 3000 kcal above your maintenance calories. What you should do instead of feeling upset is get back on track. Your fitness goal is important but what you should focus on these holidays is having fun with your loved ones.
Suggested Read: Maximizing Sleep at Home