This is it! The holiday season is here! And with it, come mountains of delicious food we just can’t say no to. Am I right? But don’t despair! I have a few tips to keep your pants from getting tighter when the New Year comes around.
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The problem with holiday weight gain
To be honest, I don’t think the holiday season is the best time to start a new weight loss program. Let’s be realistic, it’s hard enough to keep the unwanted pounds away with all the holiday food, let alone lose them.
But please don’t go to the other extreme. The holidays aren’t an excuse to eat everything in sight without thinking about the consequences because those extra pounds are going to pile up. Take a look at what WebMD says about holiday weight gain.
Studies show that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. And, those extra pounds tend to become permanent baggage. Year after year, those pounds can add up, and contribute to overweight or obesity later in life.
If you let those 1 or 2 pounds slide, it means after 5 years, you’ll likely be 10 pounds heavier! As you can see, gaining weight during the holidays can become a real problem.
How to avoid holiday weight gain
The good news is that you can follow a few easy steps to keep those extra pounds away from your waistline. From experience, I can tell you they work because I’ve managed to keep a stable weight for three straight holiday seasons.
Also, if you keep your lifestyle as healthy as possible during the holidays, it’ll be much easier to start a health and fitness program in January.
So what do you say? Let’s keep the holiday weight gain away!
1. Stay active
When it’s cold outside, I always feel like cuddling up with some yummy warm comfort food and watching movies on Netflix. And who doesn’t? But we still have to get up and get some physical activity to keep the unwanted pounds at bay.
I know we’re all busy during the holidays, so it’s best to keep workouts short but intense. HIIT routines are the best way to do this.
If you’re not a fan of exercise, there’s still plenty you can do to move your body- take a walk, play with the kids, do chores. Anything that keeps you away from endless hours on the couch!
2. Eat healthy most of the time
There’s a lot to celebrate this season, but it’s best to stick to a healthy eating plan the rest of the time. Try to eat at least one portion of produce in every meal, and avoid fast food and processed food. And unless it’s a special occasion, steer clear of rich desserts, candy, fried food, and crisps.
Whether you gain weight or not during the holidays depends on what you’re eating when you’re not celebrating.
3. Pay attention to what you eat at a party
Avoid eating mindlessly at parties. Eat from smaller plates to keep portions under control. If it’s a buffet, scan the options and decide what you really want before you start piling food on your plate. Sit down to eat and take the time to really enjoy your meal. If you take at least 20 minutes, you’ll find it’s easier not to overeat.
Finally, be careful with the hors d’oeuvres. If eat too many of them, you’ll end up consuming twice as many calories as you had intended. It’s better to choose a healthy option or to simply stay away from the appetizers.
4. Keep your eye on the drinks
Alcoholic drinks and cocktails can be real calorie bombs when they’re not kept under control. Also, if you get a little tipsy, it’ll be harder for you to pick healthy options. It’s a good idea to have a glass of water for every drink you have.
On the other hand, forget about soda completely. It’s full of sugar and calories. Even the diet versions are bad because they’ll increase your need to keep eating.
Make it a goal to have 6 to 8 glasses of water a day this holiday season, and you’ll feel much better and lighter.
5. Plan your holidays
The holidays are a series of several special events, not an eating and drinking marathon. This means you can get organized and plan for each event accordingly.
If you’re going to dinner, have a healthy and nutritious breakfast and lunch. And do your workout. And don’t skip meals! Skipping meals will make you prone to overeating at dinner.
Did you know a glass of water before dinner keeps you from overeating? Another good idea is to bring your own healthy option to dinner, like a salad or a vegan dish. If you’re the hostess, hand out leftovers for guests to take home so you won’t have a pile of holiday food sitting in your fridge.
Happy healthy holidays!
Above all, remember the holidays are an opportunity to spend quality time with your friends and family, not a time to get obsessed with food. You don’t need to eat to make meaningful memories. Go for walks, enjoy nature, play a little football after dinner. This will help you stay active and fit all through the season.