During the fall and winter months, it is easy to over-indulge in all sorts of ways. Holiday social gatherings lend themselves to excessive eating and drinking, while the guilt that we may feel the following day can lead us to the gym, where we overcompensate with exercise. With a little planning and willpower, you can keep your diet and exercise in line throughout the winter months and emerge in the spring feeling great. Here are eight ways to avoid too much of the good things.
1. FUEL UP EARLY IN THE DAY. Schedule time for a good breakfast that includes protein, such as eggs, and healthy carbohydrates, such as fruit. A healthy breakfast can help keep hunger at bay, which makes us less likely to overeat.
2. KEEP A DIARY. Tracking what you do each day can help you pick up on unhealthy patterns you might not otherwise notice. For example, if you tend to over-exercise and experience injuries due to overuse, write down the exercises you perform during each workout. Include the number of repetitions and the speed and intensity levels at which you do them. When you look back at your diary, you will notice any negative patterns that you can address and subsequently fix.
3. ALTERNATE DRINKING an alcoholic beverage with drinking a non-alcoholic (preferably calorie-free) beverage to avoid consuming too much.
4. SLEEP! Studies have found that people who get too little sleep tend to overeat. How much sleep is enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults sleep seven to nine hours per night.
5. AFTER PREPARING A MEAL, split leftovers into single servings for storage. When you pull out leftover food to eat, you are restricted to one serving size.
6. USE ONLY ONE SMALL PLATE at each meal to hold your food, and then do not return for seconds. The visual of having a full plate of food is satisfying, while the single plate keeps your intake down.
7. EAT DINNER BEFORE ATTENDING HOLIDAY PARTIES. Parties can be full of unhealthy snacks, drinks and appetizers. Going to a party on a full stomach leaves you less likely to give in to these temptations.
8. EXERCISE. Physical activity of any kind causes your body to make beta-endorphins, which help to reduce stress. People who are stressed tend to eat more. So by getting up and moving, you will not only feel more relaxed, you will also be less likely to over eat.