Even if you have superhuman willpower, the holiday season is challenging for everyone. Staying on track can seem so daunting, you feel like swan-diving into the eggnog and sending your sensible routine into hibernation until the New Year. But, as we all know, excess pounds don’t disappear along with the decorations. And nobody wants to start the new year in the hole, body-wise.

 

Turns out, there’s no need to. “You can have fun without throwing away your healthy habits,” says Elisa Zied, RD, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips. Check out these 7 rules for a no-gain season. You can indulge and still wake up the same size (or less!) come New Year’s Day.

  1. Start Your Day With A Bang. Exercising in the morning can help ensure better behavior all day long, according to a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

    Using brain scans, researchers found that when women worked out in the a.m., they not only moved more the rest of the day, but they also responded less to pictures of tempting food compared with the days they didn’t do a morning workout. The upshot: fewer cravings for high-fat fare.

  2. Avoid Banking Calories. Cutting back all day so you can indulge at an event that night only sets you up for a pig-out.

    Why? You’re freaking starving! “It’s easy to get out of control when you’re faced with high calorie choices,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of The Miracle Carb Diet.

    Be sure to eat your three squares and a couple of snacks. Aim for lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.

  3. Avoid Leftovers. Have the night of your life, then send guests home with foodfilled containers. “It’s the leftovers that do you in,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers in New York City.

    Repeat after us: “Out of sight, out of mind”.

  4. Eat Your H2O. Instead of trying to down eight glasses of water (near impossible when you’re busy), have a green salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and a few slices of avocado. “These water-rich foods help keep you hydrated, so that everything moves through your system faster,” Zied says.

  5. Brew Up A Pot of Peppermint Tea. Research shows peppermint can help calm stomach muscles and reduce gas. Not a fan? Try chamomile, suggests Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

  6. Chew Slowly. When your to-do list is never-ending, it’s hard to make yourself downshift, even at mealtime. But eating fast is a quick recipe for an expanded waistline. Taking time to chew your food slowly helps reduce calorie intake and prevent weight gain.

  7. Get Plenty of Potassium. This nutrient counterbalances sodium, so you retain less water, Zuckerbrot explains. Our favorite potassium possibilities: bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, and cantaloupe.

    Or serve up some asparagus or dandelion greens to get the bonus of a natural diuretic.

 

Source: health.com