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How Mindful Eating Can Help You Avoid Packing on Those Pesky Holiday Pounds

Ever wonder how long it takes to burn off the holiday weight you put on?

Ever wonder how long it takes to burn off the holiday weight you put on? Well, according to research, it takes about 5 months for the average person to get back to their pre-holiday weight, but there are ways to avoid packing on those pesky holiday pounds.

Eating more slowly and mindfully can help you control how much you eat. When you eat too fast, you don't give your brain a chance to let you know when to stop, so it's easier to overeat. Fast eaters may not chew their food thoroughly. And they swallow a lot of air while they're gulping it down, so it's no wonder that speed eating can lead to indigestion. Here are my 5 favorite tips to help a fast eater slow down and regain control.

Eat in courses.

Instead of serving all your food at one time, try eating in courses. Start your meal with a salad or a light soup first, or you might just try having your vegetables first. When you start with the lowest calorie food, you'll start to fill up on fewer calories.

Set the mood.

Soft lighting and slow music can help to slow the pace of your eating. The only downside is that you might linger at the table longer—so keep serving dishes off the table so you're not tempted to 'have just another bite.'

Ever wonder how long it takes to burn off the holiday weight you put on?

Eat foods at the proper temperature.

We've all had those times when we're so eager to eat that we zap some leftovers in the microwave until they're just warm enough to be appealing—but not so hot that they can't be eaten quickly. On the other hand, when foods are piping hot (or, when it's appropriate, nice and cold), you eat them more slowly. It'll take you longer to sip on any icy-cold protein shake that's been made with frozen fruit than one that's simply mixed together in a glass. And if you have to blow on each spoonful of hot soup, it'll slow your pace, too.

Don't load your fork until you've swallowed the previous bite.

Next time you're at the table with a fast eater, take note. At the same time they're chewing one bite; their fork is usually locked and loaded for the next one. If this sounds like you, here's your mantra: Chew, swallow, load fork, repeat.

Take a half-time break.

About halfway through your meal, take a breather. Sip some water, keep the conversation flowing, but just stop eating for a few minutes. Then take a hunger reading. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that you're comfortable and satisfied—and that you've crossed the finish line.

Satisfying your chocolate craving doesn't have to be bad, anymore.

If you decide you need help satisfying your sweet tooth cravings, limiting candy can go a long way to living a healthier and happier life. Moderation with sugar products is a good habit in general, as it helps keeps cravings down.

Remember, the holiday season doesn't have to be a detriment to your health goals. With some simple planning and healthy snacks, you can enjoy the holidays and stay on track for the New Year.

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Written by CSSD, CSOWM for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.