10 Ways to avoid adding weight over festive season

With Christmas come the extra calories lurking in every corner you turn. The temptations are endless.

But between the parties, stress and all that nyama choma, many will end up gaining weight.

All these extras add up, and if you’re like most Kenyans, you’ll put on a kilo or two by New Year’s Day.

So here are a few tips to help you avoid gaining the unwanted weight this holiday season.

1. Be active with family and friends

Avoid sitting on the couch while doing nothing. Inactivity may contribute to weight gain, especially when lounging around is accompanied by eating excessive amounts of food. Doing some type of physical activity while on holiday with your family may prove to be beneficial for weight control.

2. Be smart when snacking

During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be available for you to take as you please. This problem can be solved by keeping treats out of sight. Also if you are hungry and need a snack, opt for real foods. Fruits and vegetables that don’t contain added sugars or unhealthy fats, both of which can lead to weight gain.

3. Practice mindful eating

People are often rushed and on the go throughout the holiday season, which frequently leads to multitasking during meals. Studies show that those who eat while they are distracted are more likely to overeat. This is because they are unable to pay attention to their body’s fullness signals. To prevent this from happening, eat mindfully without distractions, including work and electronics. Another way to eat mindfully is to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, which will allow you to better recognize your body’s signals of fullness and consume fewer calories.

4. Watch your portion sizes

When the holidays arrive, it can be easy to overdo it on your portion sizes. Those who eat larger-than-recommended portions tend to gain weight more easily than those who don’t. The best way to overcome this is to weigh and measure your food, eat off smaller plates or simply use your best judgment to fill your plate with a reasonable amount of food.

Overweight man II - 10 Ways to avoid adding weight over festive season
An overweight man eating chips. FILE PHOTO

5. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep deprivation is quite common during the holidays, and it may cause weight gain. This is because those who do not sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity. The reason behind this is that sleep restriction may increase your hunger hormone levels, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake.

6. Use a smaller plate

Dinner parties and potlucks are common occasions during the holiday season. While people often think of these as diet disasters, they don’t have to be if you eat from a smaller plate.

7. Draw the line

If you are serious about controlling your weight over the holidays, it may be helpful to draw the line, set limits for yourself and stick to your goals regarding food intake. Decide which foods are worth it to you and which ones are not.

8. Limit alcohol

Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. If you drink a lot you, won’t have as much control over what you eat. If you feel out of place without a drink, drink water so you have something to carry like everyone else.

Beer II - 10 Ways to avoid adding weight over festive season
A drinkers hold up beer glasses for a toast. FILE PHOTO

10 Limit ‘tastes’ while cooking

If you do a lot of cooking during the holidays, crack down on all those “tastes.” People lose their appetites when they’ve been cooking because they’ve been eating the whole time. Instead of tasting mindlessly every few minutes, limit yourself to two small bites of each item pre-and post-seasoning.

11. Walk it off

Make a new holiday tradition: the family walk. Besides burning some extra calories, this will get everyone away from the food for a while. Get people off the couch and move. Go out for a walk as a family before or after the meal. Walking not only benefits you physically but also puts you in a mindset to be more careful about what you eat.

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