How not to gain weight over the holidays, including 5 actionable steps to help get started.
The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it can also be a time of overeating, sedentary behavior, and consumption of calorie-rich foods. Between mid-November and mid-January, adults in Western societies gain an average of 1 pound (0.5 kg) . While this may not seem like a lot, most people don’t lose this extra weight, and it can contribute to your total annual weight gain. However, holiday weight gain is not inevitable. Here are 5 actionable steps to help you avoid weight gain during the holiday season:
- Set achievable goals
Focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing weight. If weight loss does not feel attainable, set more realistic goals. For example, aim to maintain your current weight or to gain no more than 1-2 pounds during the holiday season.
2. Don’t skip meals or bank calories
Skipping meals prior to your gathering in order to eat more can actually backfire. This can lead to frequent snacking and overindulging. Instead, eat regular meals throughout the day, and make sure to include fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
3. Fill up on healthy foods first
While no food needs to be off-limits, make it a goal to eat healthy foods first. This will help to minimize your intake of less nutritious foods. For example, start your meal with a salad or vegetable soup, and then move on to the main course.
4. Practice mindful eating
Stop eating when you are almost full. Wait at least 20 minutes before eating more. If you’re going to have less nutritious foods, eat smaller portions. This will allow you to enjoy your food – and party – more.
5. Stay active
Sedentary activities, such as sitting on the couch watching TV, are common holiday traditions for many families. Inactivity may contribute to weight gain, especially if accompanied by overeating. Doing some type of physical activity with your family may prove beneficial for weight control. Even something as simple as a family walk can get your mind off food and allow you to bond with your loved ones. You can also stay active during the holidays by signing up for a workplace or community fitness event. Races are popular options.
In conclusion, the holiday season can be a challenging time to maintain a healthy weight, but it is not impossible. By setting achievable goals, not skipping meals, filling up on healthy foods first, practicing mindful eating, and staying active, you can avoid holiday weight gain and enjoy the festivities without guilt.
If you’d like help with a holiday diet, managing your weight year round, or just getting stronger & healthier, get in touch with us by clicking here.