Food cravings can absolutely kill you during the holidays. With so much deliciousness at every turn, it’s no wonder people fall off the wagon when it comes to their diets and commitment to a healthier lifestyle. But, luckily, there are ways to re-direct your thinking and get yourself going in the right direction again – and it all starts with a little know-how about how to avoid cravings and overeating during the holidays.
When you want to avoid cravings and overeating, you really need to keep your social eating at dinners and parties in perspective. It’s very easy to eat a few additional appetizers – or an entire extra plate of food, for that matter – when you are socializing and having a good time. You need to pay attention to what you’re eating, and if you have a hard time doing that, then load up a single plate at the buffet and eat only off that plate for the evening (if the plates are very small, limit yourself to two plates, or you may fill a larger plate 1/2 full, twice). If there are multiple courses instead of a buffet, eat only 1/2 or 1/3 of what’s offered, especially if you’re having a couple cocktails to go with it.
Oh yeah, about those cocktails… are you drinking alcohol at these parties, too? Try to stick to lighter cocktails like wine spritzers or liquors that don’t have high-calorie juices or creams added to them. Also remember that while you should be eating a little food with that alcohol, it may just prompt you to loosen up a little and eat more than you had planned. Set your limits ahead of time and it will be easier to stay on track.
Another way to offset food cravings is to add certain vitamins, supplements or foods into your diet prior to your parties. It’s helps to be taking them year-round, but if you’re in need of a quick fix, there are specific foods and vitamins that can either make you feel fuller, or turn off the hunger signals to your brain. For instance, cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which has been known to temporarily anesthetize nerves and turn off those hunger signals. You can also take a high-fiber supplement (like a little granulated psyllium seed) with a big glass of water before you go to the party. Both will make hunger pangs fade and you can concentrate on tasting the party food, instead of feasting on it. Vitamins B2, B3, and C work well, too, but it has to be in your bloodstream to be effective. If you forgot to take it, pop a few last-minute anyway, because often the placebo effect works wonders.
The last tip for how to avoid cravings and overeating during the holidays is to watch what you’re wearing. It may be tempting to put on a looser pair of pants or slacks so you feel comfortable for the evening, but that extra leeway your elastic waistband is giving you is a recipe for disaster. Wear clothes that fit, and that don’t expand. You will thank yourself for it in the long run.
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