Each year as the holiday season approaches, people want to know what they can do to avoid holiday weight gain. With the days getting much shorter and the to-do lists getting longer, it can be difficult to manage staying on top of healthy eating regimens and exercise routines. Despite what you may think, it is possible to enjoy yourself without gaining weight. Read on for tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain and come out ahead on January 1!
1. Avoid fasting in preparation for a party. I see this all the time! People go all day without eating so they can “splurge” once they hit the party. This behavior leads to excessive thoughts about food. When we skip meals we become ravenous and blood sugar levels drop. Fasting can lead to overeating and an upset stomach when you finally give yourself permission to eat. Instead, eat regular meals throughout the day to control hunger so you can enjoy yourself at the party and make smart decisions when it comes to food and drink!
2. Through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be difficult to stay on track with health routines to avoid weight gain. Between shopping, traveling, entertaining visitors and attending holiday parties, it’s easy to throw in the towel with eating well. To stay on course, ensure you are fueling your body consistently throughout the day; meals should include protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and vegetables. When you’re running around town, pack portable snacks such as nuts, fruit, peanut butter, carrot sticks with hummus, boiled eggs and yogurt. Keep a lunch box or cooler in the car for perishable foods. Between errands, nosh on your snacks to keep energy levels stable.
3. Savor your favorite seasonal treats. Staying healthy isn’t about never indulging in your favorite foods. Think about what makes those foods so special. Is it grandma’s recipe? Do you only get to eat it a few times per year? Consider the seasonal foods you enjoy most and stick to those. For example, choose homemade peppermint bark over a handful of red and green M&M’S. You can have M&M’S all year long; the only difference is the festive color! When you choose your favorites, make sure you savor each bite, really paying attention to the flavors and texture. This increases satisfaction and you’re more likely to feel content with a smaller serving size.
4. It’s no secret that the holidays bring stress and chaos. Exercise is key to keeping stress and anxiety under control so you can enjoy the season. Take a few minutes to look at your calendar at the beginning of each week an schedule a few exercise sessions. Putting it on the books makes it a priority, and you are more likely to stick with it to avoid weight gain. Take advantage of the cooler weather and get outside for a power walk, bike ride or hike.
5. Enjoy the present moment. It’s so easy to worry about the future as the to-do list fills up and to become frantic about how you will get every task checked off the list. Instead of worrying about the future, practice staying in the present moment and enjoy each minute. Do what you can in the time you have and know that it’s impossible to be perfect! Staying present helps us to stay mindful in all areas of life, including food and eating. Being present can reduce stress eating and mindless munching. When we are constantly worried, we miss out on the special moments the holiday season has to offer, like decorating the tree, listening to festive music, hanging lights and spending time with loved ones.