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Our Weight-Loss Experts Offer 10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Diet Over the Holidays

Dr. Gurprit Sekhon, Nu Wave Medical Center

Indulge (a little)

If you go into the holidays with a goal of turning a cheek at every truffle and peanut butter cup, you're setting yourself up to fail. Indulgent foods and the holidays go hand in hand, so allow yourself to indulge and have a bite of your favorite treats without going overboard. 

Drink plenty of water

Drinking water is a super easy, totally free way to keep your hands and mouth busy when you feel like having a snack, and it keeps your body prepared to flush out fat during these magical months. Aim for six to eight glasses a day depending on your doctor's recommendations, and avoid carbonation and artificial sweeteners. 

Be sneaky

You can make decadent desserts with healthy substitutes in place of the most sinful ingredients — and your guests will never know the difference! Greek yogurt makes a great replacement for sour cream, for example, and evaporated skim milk can easily replace heavy cream in nearly any recipe.

Experience your favorites

Focus on each decadent bite of holiday food, and notice the texture of the food between your lips as well as the taste of it on your tongue and the aroma rising from your plate. Studies show that when eating is a complete experience, you become satisfied sooner and need less food to feel full. 

Don't sit by the snack bowl

If you choose to snack, grab a bite or two and walk away from the buffet or snack bowl. Sitting near the bowl can lead to endless snacking (and the guilt and sour gut that follows). 

Offer to host

When you offer to host holiday get-togethers, you gain better control over what tempts you and what you have available to you as healthy alternatives (as well as whether those foods happen to appeal to your palate). The busy work involved in hosting can serve as a healthy distraction too. 

Pack a few snacks

Bring a fresh green salad, baby carrots, or soft mozzarella to nibble on if you get hungry. With just a little willpower, you can bypass the heavy, carb-laden indulgences for more satisfying, guilt-free pleasures. 

Weigh yourself every morning

If your holiday tradition spans more than one day (maybe you take a cruise or spend a day with different family members), weigh yourself each morning to measure your success from the day before. This serves two purposes: If you see that you're maintaining or losing, it feels like your hard work paid off and you're motivated to press on, while a gain serves as a small consequence of poor choices, driving you to make better ones today.

Don't shop hungry

When it comes time to stock the kitchen for company, eat a healthy dinner before you hit the grocery store aisles to avoid filling your cart with cookies and potato chips. Shopping with a satisfied appetite makes it easier to select foods that fuel your body (and not just your cravings).

Choose healthy foods first

Build your first course from the healthiest offerings, like a broth-based, vegetable-laden soup or a leafy green salad. You may find that you're satisfied before you ever reach the mashed potatoes and gravy. 

The best way to strategize for maintaining your diet during the holiday season is to include your internal medicine or primary care provider in your journey. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Gurprit Sekhon at Nu Wave Medical Center today.

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