Manipal Nurse Sunday Column: Lose those holiday pounds now!

The vicious cycle happens year in and year out. There’s a break from college and you go home to Mom’s cooking and parties with friends. By the time you have finished off, the New Year‘s parties begin and you’re in for another round of hogging food and alcohol. Come college reopening time, your pants are already starting to feel snug.

Do not panic or head straight to the department store for a whole new wardrobe. Exercise and follow these tips instead, and you will have your body back on track in no time. Sexy Heart

Watch your portions. It is not what you eat but how much you eat. There is no need to keep certain foods off-limits. With that mindset you are bound to want them more and when you do satisfy that craving, you will only feel guilty. Instead, fill your plate with lean meat, steamed or sauteed veggies and healthy salads. And of course sample those other favorite but- not-so-healthy foods, but in moderation. Calories cannot be saved for later. In theory it seems like a good idea: Skip breakfast, maybe even lunch, and eat everything you want at dinner. The problem, however, is that you are so hungry by the time you get to dinner you end up overeating. Instead, eat a sensible, healthy breakfast and lunch and then follow the portion-control rules for dinner. That way, you are less likely to overeat or make bad decisions.

Do not confuse thirst with hunger. Before you head back for second helpings or pop open that tin of cookies for a midday snack, make sure you are really hungry and not just dehydrated. It is easy to confuse the two, since your stomach makes noises to signal both. While cooking or waiting for dinner, sip some water. Also, when you head to the mall , take a bottle of water with you as well as some healthy snacks. It is good to stay hydrated in the hot, stuffy stores, and if the water does not seem to do the trick, at least you will have something healthy to snack on and won’t be tempted to indulge in the food court’s often unhealthy options.

Avoid pressure eating. At the holiday table you have likely heard cries like, “Dear, you’ve hardly eaten a thing!” It’s the holidays. Have a second helping!” or “You must try the creamed spinach and the bread stuffing!” Often during holiday dinners, so much is going on that you ignore how quickly you’re eating or who’s putting what on your plate. Now that the holidays are over, slow down. Take the time to listen to your body, see what it’s saying and respond with conscious choices. Stay positive. It’s not impossible to fit back into your favorite jeans. When you sit down for a meal, don’t let the food overwhelm you. Take control of your food choices or you’ll make poor dietary decisions.

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