By Jen Gendron: Health & Wellness Coach
As the holidays get closer, we start to feel an overwhelming feeling of joy knowing what they will bring. Hopefully, we get to spend more time with family, be able to take some time off work, and the chance to participate in annual traditions that occur this time of year. Unfortunately, another thing that tends to happen every year during the holiday season is dealing with weight gain.
Studies show that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and the New Year is 5 to 8 lbs Yikes! If we aren’t careful, over the years this can really add up. Although the holidays are not a good time to try to lose weight, simply avoiding weight gain over the holidays can be a real struggle. So many of the parties, activities, and traditions involve food, and usually not healthy food.
Luckily, hope is not lost! There are ways you can avoid gaining weight during the holiday season while still enjoying yourself. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you maintain over the holidays!
1. Offer to make more dishes for parties and holiday events. The best way to know that you are eating something that is good for you is by making it yourself. When you are invited to Christmas dinner or a holiday party, ask if you can bring something. That way, you will be able to control at least one dish that will be at the party.
2. Aim for a healthy balance in all your meals and snacks. Instead of struggling to count calories and figure out how many carbs you are eating, simply try to have a good
3. Get Plenty of Exercise Throughout the Holiday Season. What you eat isn’t the only thing that is going to keep you from holiday weight gain. You also need to focus on getting regular physical activity. Gaining weight usually comes from eating more than you burn each day, so you want to burn as many calories as you can. Plus, with regular exercise, you are getting more energy, boosting your metabolism, and boosting your mood, all of which can keep you from emotional eating during the holiday season.
4. Cook Alternatives to Your Holiday Favorites. If you are planning Christmas dinner or trying to think of some fun treats for your kids during the holiday season, look for some healthy alternatives to the traditional favorites such as mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, adding less butter and sugar to your dishes, choosing low-fat versions of dairy products, making more vegetables as sides and choosing healthier desserts.
5. Be Careful With Holiday Parties. The holidays are a time for lots of parties and social events that usually come with lots of food & beverages. If you plan ahead, you can enjoy these events without over-eating or consuming too many calories. Some things to consider are:
– Choose Your Cocktails Wisely – holiday drinks can be loaded with calories. Try to stick to cocktails that use soda water instead of juices and look for lower-calorie alternatives. Sip water between cocktails to avoid drinking too much.
– Eat a Healthy Meal Before Attending – often times we think that skipping a meal is a great way to save on calories so we can indulge at a social event however, it is never a good idea to arrive at a party starting! Eat a healthy meal with lots of fruits and veggies before you head to the party so you don’t arrive starving and then pick and choose your favorite treats to enjoy.
– Put Appetizers On a Small Plate – Instead of standing in front of the appetizer table, put the food items on a plate and eat only what you put on there. This will make it less likely for you to overindulge.
By planning ahead and being mindful of what you are consuming throughout the holidays, you can enjoy yourself and indulge in some of your favorite treats without ringing in the New Year regretting your choices. Take the time to plan ahead, know what you enjoy the most and want to indulge in over the holiday season and then enjoy it, guilt free!