We've all been there - good food, family, and the perfect excuse to loosen your belt and dig in. For some, this is the beginning and end of it - but for many, the leftovers are overtime for overindulgence. Even if you can avoid stuffing yourself with leftover stuffing, recovering from the day of indulgence can require some extra discipline. This is why we have compiled a quick list of some tips and tricks that will help you control your portion sizes and avoid tacking on any unwanted weight during the holiday season.
1. Hydrate first!
Hydration is the key to happiness. As kids, we all learn that our bodies are comprised of mostly water, but often we don't connect the dots on what this means for our hydration habits. It is a great idea to start every meal with a tall glass of water. It helps keep you hydrated, as well as it helps your stomach differentiate between your food hunger and the need for water. Did you know our body uses the same signals to indicate hunger and dehydration? Often we mistake our need for hydration for hunger - missing out on what our body needs most, and often overindulging in food in a misguided attempt to satiate ourselves.
2. Use smaller plates!
One of the most significant tips in this article is using smaller plates. As humans, we eat with our eyes first. When we see something that looks delicious we get a strong impulse to pile it high on our plates. A good way of maintaining portion control is to use smaller plates, bowls, and other flatware to trick our biological impulses. Food looks more plentiful on a smaller plate, and often times by the end of the meal you will feel satisfied and full despite the smaller portion.
3. Slow down!
Another major tip is to slow down when you eat! For some people this is harder than for others. The science is solid however, slowing down when you eat leads you to feel fuller while having consumed less food. Our bodies need time to catch up with the inputs we give them - if you inhale your whole plate before your body can even register that you're filling up, its very easy to overindulge. Taking care to slow down and savor your meal will not only help you control your portions, it will also allow you to enjoy more thoroughly the food your eating.
4. Don't be afraid to snack! (Healthily)
As kids we almost all heard some variation of the phrase "Don't spoil your dinner by snacking now". From a parents perspective, it makes sense. However, as adults, snacking when you feel hungry is actually the healthy thing to do. Refusing to snack and building up an appetite for dinner often leads to overindulgence once the meal arrives. Humans, for thousands of years, ate periodically through the day as hunter gatherers. When a big kill was scored, humans stuffed themselves as full as they could be. We as humans are designed to snack - and if we don't get enough snacking in - our bodies prep to eat as much of the big meal as we can. Take your bodies signals seriously and remember, if you're feeling like a snack, have a glass of water and a healthy snack. Don't force yourself to forgo food until later.