With the holidays rapidly approaching, it is easy to get caught up in the festivities, especially with regard to eating habits. The combination of calorie-rich foods and sedentary behavior often leave individuals adding extra inches on their waistline. Dr. Jan McBarron, an award-winning bariatric medicine physician, has a list of three different ways in which you can ensure that you do not overeat during this holiday season.

Practice Mindful Eating

If you are determined to watch what you eat this Christmas, it is important to enter the holiday season with a comprehensive plan of action. Mindful eating is a powerful tool to help individuals control their eating habits using meditative techniques. Instead of restricting your calorie intake, take the time to recognize when you are hungry and plan meals accordingly. 

Dr. Jan McBarron argues that eating habits should not be linked to one’s emotional state, as this often results in overeating. Ultimately, practicing mindfulness allows individuals to make health-conscious decisions, as opposed to eating whatever food is available at the moment.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

It is easy to surpass your calorie limit during the holidays with the many calorie-rich beverages available. Alcohol consumption is often linked to increased hunger and appetite, which can lead to increased weight gain. Instead, Dr. Jan McBarron suggests looking for low-calorie alternatives, which often contain decreased amounts of sugar.

Modify Your Eating Habits

Modifying your eating habits is a great way to prevent overeating, and often it is a series of small, manageable changes. First, you will want to have a clear image in your head of what a sensible portion of food is, and subsequently do your best to match that portion when it is mealtime. Even if you are convinced you need seconds, remember this second tip of pacing yourself, and slowing down to savor every bite: All it takes is a few extra minutes to realize that you are full instead of going back for more.

Finally, a great psychological trick is to steer clear of making food your primary reward for accomplishing tasks; when you make this simple change, you shift your focus away from feeling deprived of your favorite treats.

Do Not Forget to Participate

According to Dr. Jan McBarron, when all is said and done, you do not want your planning and habitual changes to get in the way of enjoying the moment. You are bound to feel overwhelmed if you try to cut out everything the holidays have to offer, so indulge yourself now and again, keeping it to reasonable amounts.

Try to see if some of your family activities can avoid being centered around food, as many holiday ones are but there are plenty of possibilities without. Finally, during your get-togethers, it is helpful to try and find a food accountability partner: Two heads are better than one, and you likely are not the only one trying to navigate the struggle of overeating.

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