• How to avoid weight gain during the holidays

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    Parties. Get-togethers. Food. Drinks. And more food.

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    The holiday season is heavily laden with food, so much so that even non-foodies can surely gain a few pounds with everyone—family, relatives, neighbors, officemates, clients, associates and even bosses—gifting them with treats, or coaxing them to eat at parties.

    For the weight-conscious, however, there are several ways to control extra poundage during the holidays.

    Exercise to on an empty stomach. Studies cited by greatist.com show that “exercising on an empty stomach has been shown to be especially great for fat loss.” Health.com on the other hand cited reports that “women who worked out in the morning [before eating breakfast]responded less to pictures of tempting food compared with the days they didn’t do morning exercise. This means fewer cravings for high-fat fare.”

    Be picky. Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University professor and obesity expert Dr. Tim Church said that perusing the buffet and pick only what to load the plate is biggest step to moderation. “If you pick the stuff you really want, you’ll stave off those cravings that can get you in trouble later on,” he said. If there’s a choice to take or leave sushi but love munching sliders [small sandwiches], don’t start with the tuna rolls hoping to be able to resist the two-bite burger.

    Don’t bank calories. Eating little during the day to reserve the appetite at a grander food feast at night is pig-out. It’s still best to eat three square meals in smaller amount and snacks in between but with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

    Cut back or totally avoid soda intake. Along with high-calorie-carbohydrates-laden and oily cooking comes the serving of soft drinks of all colors and all flavors in a Filipino gathering. Soft drinks are all sugar, meaning, they are sure weight adders and multipliers in whatever dose or form.

    It’s hard to slow down even at mealtime if one is used to do everything fast and quick. But eating fast is a quick recipe for an expanded waistline. The reason? “The more air you swallow, the more bloated you’ll get,” award-winning author of Read It Before You Eat It Bonnie Taub-Dix notes.

    Do short exercises in between. Even just 15 minutes can help in maintaining fitness level, Dr. Church says. Jumping rope for 15 minutes torches about 190 calories. A quick yoga sequence at home, a brisk walk or taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator can help in staying flexible.

    Load on potassium. The nutrient counterbalances sodium, so you retain less water, German site Zuckerbrot_und_Peitsche (Carrot and Stick) explains. Favorite potassium possibilities: bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, and cantaloupe. Asparagus or dandelion greens give the bonus of a natural diuretic.

    Curb dessert. The three-bite rule to keep sweet tooth cravings: “You’ll get that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle one, and then a lingering third bite,” Zuckerbrot says.

    ‘Eat’ water. It may be near impossible to down eight glasses of water a day when one is busy. A green salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and a few slices of avocado compensate for lack of water intake. These water-rich foods help keep one hydrated, so that everything moves through the system faster, Live Science and thescienceofeating.com confirm.

    Have a slice of papaya before going to bed. According to thecoloncleansersite.com papayas are an excellent fruit for constipation relief and excellent aid in digestion. Papayas contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins, especially food with gluten.

    Drink 100-percent unsweetened canned pineapple juice. Unsweetened 100-percent pineapple juice is an excellent intestinal cleanser, sure to flush out fats, toxins and other non-essential substances in the innards when drunk before going to sleep.

    Give excess food away. Enjoy the night then send guests home with food-filled containers. The culprit is the leftover food, according to Foodtrainers founder and dietician Lauren Slayton.

    Brew peppermint tea. Research shows peppermint can help calm stomach muscles and reduce gas. Alternative is chamomile, suggests Taub-Dix.

    Keep calm and kick cravings. Health.com suggests to take a deep breath before grabbing a plate if stressed by the sight of holiday spread. Close eyes and focus on what is good for 30 seconds, then reevaluate if filling the plate is the first option. Most likely the best option is just to taste a little of everything. According to research, women [and men, too]who practice stress reduction techniques are able to prevent weight gain.

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