Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Ah, the holidays are upon us. With the countless parties, dinners, and plentiful treats, the holidays are a time when people tend to pack on a little bit of weight. Even worse, weight gained during this time is typically never lost after the holiday season is over, but this doesn’t have to be the case! Follow these tips to ensure you avoid packing on any lbs over your holiday season.
Try to keep away from any sedentary activities like sitting on the couch. Inactivity is linked to weight gain, especially when it is done along with excessive eating (1). Something as simple as going for a walk with friends or family can be a great way to stay active and keep your weight in control.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep often falls by the wayside as something that we can by with on the bare minimum. This is especially true during the holidays, which can lead to increased hunger, slow metabolism, and less energy (2).
Be Selective, Not Rigid
Trying to maintain a strict diet over the holidays is no fun, and you’ll quickly burn yourself out. Instead, be selective with what foods you eat, and enjoy any treats you may want if moderation. At the same time, try to cut out any unnecessary snack foods you may eat throughout your day.
Limit Liquid Calories
Soda, alcohol, and hot cocoa are all commonly consumed beverages during the holidays. These drinks contain high amounts of sugar, which can quickly add-up to a good amount of empty calories in your diet, a deadly combination for those wanting to avoid weight gain (3). Try to limit yourself to only a few calorie-rich beverages, and mainly stick to water and black coffee.
That whole plate of cookies looking tempting? By all means, enjoy one! Ensure you have reasonable portion sizes in order to not over-indulge in any unhealthy snacks. One smart way to keep disciplined with this is to eat off smaller plates (4).
Get Your Protein!
Holiday meals are typically heavy on the carbs, and lacking on essential proteins, which can lead to weight gain. To avoid this, make sure all of your meals have a source of quality protein, as it promotes fullness and can be an important tool in maintaining your weight. Try to get at least 25-30 grams of protein per meal for optimal weight management (5).
Don’t Let the Buffet Tempt You
Most holiday meals are served buffet style, and practically beg you to come back for seconds. Try to stay disciplined during your first trip to the buffet line, assessing your hunger and loading up your plate accordingly. Remember, you don’t need to have a plate full of food to enjoy the company of others at your gathering.
Put the Processed Foods Down
Processed foods are out, whole foods are in. There are tons of super convenient holiday foods out there ready to get your weight out of control. From packaged cookies to boxed mashed potatoes, it’s better to just say no and stick to food made from scratch. This way, you avoid any unhealthy preservatives and processed carbs and fats, which can be detrimental to your weight maintenance.
Break Out the Scale
I get we all have a love/hate relationship with the scale, but regularly weighing yourself can be an important psychological reminder while practicing weight management. Individuals that weigh themselves have been shown to be more effective at maintaining their weight, so try to make it a habit to step on the scale once or twice a week (6).