Alley Rubadeau

8 Ways to Prevent Weight Gain During the Holidays

You made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving teetering on the edge of weight gain.  The hard part is over right?  Not necessarily.  The month of December through the New Year can be challenging to maintain your weight, fight off cravings, and stay on your routine.  Even if you are active you are not immune to holiday weight gain.

Research waffles around how much weight people will gain on average.  Some say 1-2 pounds for an average weight person, while some say 5, 10, even 15 pounds especially if you were overweight or obese to begin with.  Yikes!

We all want to start the New Year off ahead, not with a little extra jiggle.  Here are some tips for staving off over-indulging and not joining the Holiday 15 club.

Pretty on bikes

1. Sweat often and sweat early

Morning exercises tend to have better energy and willpower throughout the day.  So get up and get moving!  Just make sure not to get below the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours) to get your workout in.  This could have the opposite effects on your willpower by being fatigued and trying to use more food as an energy source.  Also, just because you worked out doesn’t mean you can have 2 extra slices of pie for dessert.  Pie in moderation.  One small slice should satisfy your craving.

brunch time at weekend

2. Be picky

When loading your plate decide what you really love and what is worth the calories.  If you crave mashed potatoes but could skip the bread roll, do it.  It will save you in the long run.  The same goes for alcohol.  If you are not the biggest fan of eggnog, skip it.  If you dream about eggnog all year long, then go for it but in moderation.

3.  Slow down and be mindful

Most Americans eat too fast, myself included.  Take the time to observe what is on your plate, take in the smells, and have an eating plan before you dig in.  Put your fork down between bites, drink water, offer to get up and get something for someone if they need it, and practice gratitude of the food in front of you.  It takes 20 minutes for your body to feel full.  If you give your brain the time to process you are full, you could avoid that second plate and food coma.

Standing On Weight Scale

4.  Step on the scale

As hard as it may be, stepping on the scale at least twice a week can keep you on track.  Weigh yourself at the same time each day.  I prefer first thing in the morning when my stomach is empty.  Do not live by the scale, but use it as a marker that you on staying on track with your goals.

Count your blessings.

pancakes with banana, nuts and honey

5.  Substitute

Food doesn’t have to contain a gazillion calories for it to be delicious.  Try some variety in your diet by swapping out high calorie foods for lower calorie swaps.  I.E. Cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, and zucchini in your holiday baked goods.  There are a ton of great recipes with healthier ingredients out there on the internet.  Two of my favorites are Pesto Spaghetti Squash and Banana Oatmeal Pancakes.

To our friendship!

6.  Size does matter

Choose smaller plates and try to avoid any white space which can bring on feelings of deprivation.  Smaller plates will make it seem you have more food and if you are anything like me and most Americans, 90% of the food will be consumed.  Therefore; smaller plate = less calories.  For drinks, go with tall and thin (no pun intended!).  Research suggests people pour less into them and you leave feeling more satisfied.

Small Girl drinking water

7.  The two fold of drinking more water

Not only does water aid weight loss by flushing out toxins, improving mood, aiding digestion, and relieving fatigue but drinking more water = more bathroom breaks which = more steps.  It is easy to cozy up by the fire for hours on end but if you constantly have to take bathroom breaks it will force you to get moving.  And remember #1?  Move more.

Remember to count your blessings!

Enjoying the winter sun

8. Avoid the holiday pitfall and relax for goodness sake

Most people know stress can wreak havoc on your body and can contribute to reaching for another candy cane.  You ate too many truffles at work, you drank too much at a holiday party and forgot your boss’s name, you are traveling, you are having a disagreement with your mother that started during Thanksgiving, the list could go on and on.

Try not to let the stress get the best of you. Prevent holiday stress before it creeps up.  This could be mediation, exercise, yoga, spending time in nature, remaining positive, and/or setting goals for the new year.  Nip it in the bud early on and remember to give yourself a break every once in a while and practice some self-love. 

And remember – count your blessings!

Related Article: 16-Week Training Program to Help Promote Health

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