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News flash: Packing on pounds over the holidays does not have to be your fate this year. "People come to me for weight-loss advice in January with that 'new year, new you' mentality and I want to say, 'If you'd just thought ahead in October and November, those 10 pounds could have been prevented,' " says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss. "Our culture encourages overeating during the holidays. Think ahead about the foods you really want to splurge on and aim for weight maintenance, not weight loss," she advises. "If you have a great time and you don't gain weight, you've won." Here's how to reach January still able to fit into your jeans.
Give yourself time to feel full.
Ingesting food triggers the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which usually helps you feel full and stop eating -- but there's a time lag. "It takes the brain anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to send satisfaction signals," says Kathleen J. Melanson, PhD, RD, associate professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island. "There may also be a mindfulness factor that you can take advantage of. Slow, mindful eating can provide more enjoyment for fewer calories, partly because it stimulates your taste buds and olfactory system."