Are you one of those people that start to freak out when the holidays are coming around, because you know that you are going to gain weight? It is very common for people to gain weight during the Thanksgiving and New Year holiday seasons. Many of us just do not care thinking that it is party time and a little indulgence would not matter. However, research shows that the weight we gain during this time of the year just sticks around and people find it extremely difficult to lose it. The pounds gained just keep accumulating year after year, which in turn results in obesity.
Holiday weight gain is something that is unavoidable, as you are surrounded by temptations, but you can control it to a point. You should not try to lose weight during holidays, as it is pointless and would ruin the fun. Rather you should concentrate on maintaining your weight. Read below to find out what we can do to maintain the weight while still enjoying the holidays.
Avoid Holiday Weight Gain – Tips and Suggestions
Advice on how to maintain your weight during the holiday season
- Many people tend to drink large amount of alcohol during yearend holidays, which includes beer, mulled wine and champagne. Alcoholic drinks along with hot drinks like fancy hot chocolate drinks, coffees, etc add many calories to your diet and you should try to keep them to a minimum. You should pick a couple of drinks that you like and stick to those. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding sugary drinks will also help maintain weight. Avoid the tendency to have high fat appetizers like crackers, along with your drinks.
- It is very difficult to feel motivated to work out during this time of the year as it is very cold and most people feel lethargic. You should try to squeeze in some exercise hours whenever you can. It is not necessary to work out every day, but just try to fit in whenever you can because even a small amount of exercise is better than not doing anything. Making a little bit of effort is going to burn some calories and will help balance the extra calories you consume. It need not be any planned exercise and you do not need to go to the gym. Just get out there and do something physically active like jogging, running, walking or any other type of sport that you want to do. You may wear a pedometer or a fitness tracker to actually see and track where you are with your daily steps. Give yourself some credit that you are able to burn some calories and are not just sitting there and watching movies, despite the busy schedule.
- At this time of the year, many people are busy cleaning and getting their home ready for Christmas. It is a great fun way of exercising by putting on some music and dancing around your house! If you live in an apartment or condominium, you may walk in the hallways or move up and down the stairway. If you have back pain or any other joint pain, you may do some water laps in the swimming pool. Just keep yourself moving.
- Do not ditch your daily healthy habits just because it is fun time. For instance, have a healthy breakfast consisting of whole grain cereals and do not switch to having bacon sandwich every morning just because it’s Christmas.
- Try to eat a little less on days you are not super busy and when you know you are not going out. You could start your day with a cereal and have a salad or sandwich for lunch and a regular dinner cutting out the snacks in between. Make an effort to consume 200 to 300 calories less than you would consume on other days. This helps in balancing the days you might have over indulged.
- You should increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, as they are very low in calories and high in nutrients along with fiber. Fiber rich foods will help to keep you fuller, longer. This will reduce the need to intake more calories. You will not get those cravings like when you get when you indulge in those sugary foods. You should aim for seven or more servings of veggies and fruits per day. That may seem like a chore for some people, as they hardly tend to eat fresh fruits or veggies and when you look at their grocery cart, it contains many processed foods. The easiest way for them is to have a smoothie every morning and add some veggies to it.
- Eat what you love but with some restraint that will keep you from overindulging. You may want to use smaller plates for meals. Picking a bigger sized plate tends to make us eat more food during that meal. It is also important to pace yourself and chew slowly to enjoy your food. This way your body will have enough time to tell you when it’s really full. In addition, instead of sitting on the couch, you should take a small walk at a leisurely pace after your meals, which will help aid digestion. It is so much healthier to go out for a walk and more memorable with the family as well.
- Drinking water is one of the most valuable tools you can use to lose or maintain weight. Simply drinking two cups of water before each of your main meal will help you lose weight. Since we are largely composed of water, all of our biological processes depend on water. Water helps in faster metabolism, getting rid of toxins, digestion and keeping blood sugar levels low. Sometimes people confuse hunger with thirst. Therefore, they fail to recognize thirst and begin eating when actually their body wants water.
- It is also a good practice to plan your menu, especially at this time of the year. This will save your time in the long run, and writing down your meal plans in advance will let you know exactly what you are having and how much you are having. You will also be able to keep checks and balances in your diet. For e.g. if you know that you have had five servings of fruits and vegetables today, then you can allow yourself to eat chip cookies, sweets, etc.
- Another thing you might want to do to maintain weight during the holiday season is to start weighing yourself twice a week. Monitoring weight will ensure that you are going on the right path and will give you feedback to the changes you have made during the holidays.
- If you happen to go out for buffets, Christmas parties, or any other holiday events, try to be selective when it comes to food. Have only things you really want and try not to get everything you see, on your plate because that adds to calories.
- During holiday season, you always have people bringing stuff, different kinds of cakes, cookies, chocolates, etc. Just learn to say ‘no’ and avoid it because you do not have to have everything that people offer.
- If you are hosting a party during holiday season, a good practice is to let your guests take the extra food, home. Therefore, you do not have the leftover food to deal with and not have to worry about overeating or finishing it the next day.
- Finally, one of the things you should practice during this holiday season is relaxation. It can be something as simple as deep breathing, meditating or doing yoga. Alternatively, you can engage in things that eliminate stress. Some people like to read, some like to solve crossword puzzles. The reason for this is that when you are stressed, the cravings are going to increase and you are most likely going to give in to those cravings. Therefore, you do not want to eat out of stress and practice calming techniques to release your stress.
Read: How to stay physically active?
In the end, you need to make small changes and they will make a big difference. However, try to be kind to yourself because changes always take a little while to adapt to. You may want to try to practice some of the above tips for this holiday season, so that you can avoid that holiday weight gain.