The holidays are wonderful! All the music, decorations, glitter, and glam. You also get to go to all those social gatherings and events.

I mean, who doesn’t love a good party, right? But the problem is never the party itself, or even the people. It’s the food!

It’s estimated that people gain anywhere from three to nine pounds during the holiday season. The good news is that one study found that almost half of that weight gain is typically lost within a month or two once the holidays are over.

Even the most disciplined person isn’t impervious to all the temptations of holiday food and beverages.

Worried about overeating during the holidays? Here are five tips to help you avoid overeating during this time:

1 – Plan Right

For example, let’s say you’re going to a party or an event where there’s going to be lots of food. Get ready an hour or two beforehand and eat a sandwich, a small meal, or a couple of servings of fruit.

Then, when you’re at the party, eat everything you want. Just take smaller portions rather than piling your plate up and feeling guilty about it later.

Also, begin each meal with a salad or soup. Starting with the healthier options helps control your hunger and limit overeating.

One thing most people forget during the holidays is to drink lots of water. You can even take a water bottle to the party to remind you to hydrate.

The second part of planning right is to get moving. Join a gym or get your daily steps in by taking daily walks around the block. Those extra calories won’t have time to settle in. Plus, physical exercise will do wonders for your holiday stress.

Why not sign up for a local holiday-themed 5K race? You’ll lose all those extra pounds and you might even make a few friends along the way!

2 – Limit Alcohol Intake

Sampling the different alcoholic beverages is a holiday tradition. After all, you have to swallow your food down with something. There’s punch, eggnog, wine, and plenty in between.

Yes, it’s the holidays and you’re allowed a few more drinks than you normally would have. The problem is that our livers metabolize alcohol differently than other beverages. It breaks down everything but leaves behind the fat and calories.

In addition, alcohol seems to skew our judgment. So, for example, let’s say you’re adamant about staying away from that extra piece of pie. After several drinks, you’ll be enjoying second, even third, helpings without a care in the world.

3 – Remember to Breathe

What we mean is to remember to breathe consciously. Close your eyes for a few seconds and become aware of your deep breaths. Then, remind yourself that you’re allowed to have fun during the holidays.

How will that help you avoid overeating? Well, it won’t, not directly, anyway. But it will lower your stress and holiday-related anxiety, which ultimately leads to overeating.

When you have a positive attitude, you’ll be able to focus more on the festivities. You’ll be having so much fun that you won’t have time to eat more than you should.

4 – Get a Support Person

We all know how hard the holidays can be. With or without your family, it can all get out of hand if you’re not careful.

This is why medical experts suggest you find someone you trust and can confide in. then, assign them to be your support person. They can help you get through the holidays in one piece.

Having a special friend who knows what kind of support you need can prove to be very helpful. They’ll be there to remind you when to dial it down a bit and be there for you when you feel overwhelmed.

5 – Eat Slowly

Eating should never be treated like a contest. Food should be savored and enjoyed, not rushed and crammed in.

Remember that eating quickly is one of the most common reasons why people overeat. The reason? Your brain takes about 20 minutes to register that your stomach is now full and you should stop eating. During that time, you can eat a whole lot of extra foods you normally wouldn’t.

So, the best way to avoid that is to practice eating slowly. Delight in each bite and focus more on the company rather than the food.

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