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EAT DRINK AND STILL FIT INTO YOUR JEANS


How to navigate party season without packing on the extra pounds.



F irst, it’s a cute little pig in a blanket (what’s the harm?). Then you find yourself justifying the mini quiches because “they’re protein!” Suddenly it’s pie for breakfast and snacking on peppermint bark mid-morning. The problem with the five weeks of cocktail parties, cookie swaps, and office drinks known as the Holidays isn’t just the calories but the downward spiral we enter in late November. It’s only until the New Year that we start contemplating the unthinkable, like the Master Cleanse or Dry January. It’s not a lack of willpower. When you overindulge, “it’s as if you’ve been taken over by body snatchers,” says Mark Hyman, M.D., a functional medicine doctor and author of Eat Fat, Get Thin and Food Fix (out in February). “Certain foods trigger the pleasure center of the brain by flooding it with dopamine, just like alcohol and cocaine do,” says Hyman, who adds that studies have shown that rats actually prefer sugar over cocaine. Here, some ways to avoid falling into the trap.

Don’t starve.

Plenty of people employ the “diet till dinner” strategy if they know they’re going out at night, but the reality is that many of us have one drink and find ourselves demolishing the cheese board. Instead a trick to try is to snack on healthy fats (like almond butter, avocado, and walnuts) before you leave home so you’re not starving. Once you arrive at the party, drink a glass of sparkling water first, then have a cocktail. Or go alcohol-free and order a kombucha you’ll pat yourself on the back in the morning

Get your gut in check.

 
Yet another good reason to fill up on crudités: “Foods with fiber and plant polyphenols nourish the good bacteria,” says Hyman. In contrast, sugary foods feed the bad bugs in your microbiome, which sets off a chemical reaction that actually makes you crave more. “It’s a vicious cycle,” he adds.


Keep your routine.


A frenetic schedule can lead to out-of-control eating patterns. “Meditation, walking, or a creative outlet helps you remain sharp and stops mindless indulging,” says Stephanie Krikorian, author of Zen Bender. Other ways to regain your equilibrium include waking up each day around the same time and going to bed by 10 p.m. Also, be selective with your invites. “Friendships won’t end because you missed a party,” says Alexis Arvidson, a New York acupuncturist.

Reboot your system.


If you feel yourself slipping, break the cycle of sugar addiction with a dietary reset, like Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet (drhyman.com). Cut out all inflammation inducers, such as dairy, gluten, alcohol, and sugar; and stick with good fats, non-starchy veggies, and protein. “Going cold turkey gives your body a chance to drop the weight,” Hyman says. “It also helps rewire the brain.” If that sounds too draconian, he suggests time-restricted eating, i.e., eating only within an eight-hour window each day (like 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and stopping noshing at least three hours before bed. This will give your digestion a rest, since it will be working only eight hours a day

Give yourself options.

 The easiest way to make sure you can fit into your jeans during the holidays? Have a selection to choose from. “I have a jeans wardrobe,” says Susie Crippen, a cofounder of J Brand denim. “Doesn’t everybody?” Crippen owns some 35 pairs, ranging from waist size 25 to 33. Also, keep in mind, notes Hyman, that what seems like weight gain may actually be puffiness as a result of inflammation, not fat. The bloat will go down in 72 hours on his regimen. But in the end, “it’s five freaking weeks,” Crippen says. “Just live and enjoy your life

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