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How to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holiday Season

The whole holiday season can feel like a minefield of overindulgence, and it’s almost impossible not to eat more than we want to. Many of us are not disciplined about out diet, and at holiday parties, we find ourselves reaching for that extra side dish. After all, it’s the time of year to eat, drink and be merry. But it’s not very difficult to enjoy the bounty without bloating up as big as the Rafflesia. Echague Isabela

Knowing that we’re going to indulge makes it easier to eat more mindfully in the weeks before the holiday. Try to cut back on fat, refined carbohydrates and calories, and exercise a little more.

The following tips will help us survive the holiday season without gaining much weight:

1. Snack beforehand

Have a low-calorie, filling snack before the big feast — an apple, a whole-grain bagel, cereal or a small bowl of soup — so you don’t arrive ravenous and lose control.

2. Choose wisely

Put 20% fewer high-calorie foods and 20% more fruits and vegetables on your plate. Studies show you probably won’t notice.

3. Eat healthier foods first

They’ll fill you up somewhat, so you’ll be less likely to over eat the other stuff.

4. Serve yourself

Serve yourself instead of allowing your sister-in-law or spouse to heap your plate full.

5. Choose foods that leave evidence

Keep those shrimp tails and chicken wing bones on your plate when you’re done. Studies show that if you see how much you’ve already had, you’ll eat less.

6. Go slow

If you wolf down your food, your plate may be clean while others are still eating. That invites seconds. Take a sip of water every bite or two to slow yourself down.

7. Use

The tinier the dish, the less food you’ll take and the less you’ll eat.

8. Skip the bread

When you’re in a restaurant, ask the server not to put bread on the table. Leave more room for your other favorite holiday foods instead.

9. Choose low-fat toppings

On potatoes and yams, avoid butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream. If possible, substitute low-fat yogurt or nonfat sour cream.

10. Watch the alcohol

Most drinks have almost 200 calories per ounce and slows down metabolism. And too much alcohol impairs judgment, so the more you drink, the more you’re likely to eat.

11. Take a stroll after dinner

Walking not only burns calories, it also helps relieve bloating and prevent heartburn.

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