How To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

How To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

With the holiday season straight ahead, you might be worried about all those scrumptious sweets and savory comfort foods sabotaging your fitness and weight-loss efforts. Don't.

If you gained weight during quarantine while working from home with the gyms closed, you’re definitely not alone. Hopefully, you figured out some creative ways to work out at your casa and make smarter food choices. And hopefully, you’ve already shed that extra weight or are at least working on it! 

Now, with the holidays looming, you might be worried about all those scrumptious sweets and savory comfort foods sabotaging your fitness and weight-loss efforts. Well, don’t fret. Here are some tips to help you navigate through the food-focused holiday months and escape in one fit-and-health piece.

'If You Fail To Plan, You're Planning To Fail' 

Let's take a cue from Benjamin Franklin's famous quote (above). Plan your meals and snacks for the week and prepare them in advance so you stay on target with your nutrition goals. That way you won’t be tempted to order pizza or take-out. You can also have a plan for parties. Even if you don't know what is being served, you can think ahead of limiting portion sizes, filling up on low-calories dishes such as veggies, and limiting portions of higher-calorie items (not necessarily eliminating altogether). By planning, you will always be in control.

Exercise Daily. 

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, American adults should get at least 150 to 300 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 to 150 minutes weekly of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (or a combo of both), plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. 

Now, that’s just the minimum. If you know you’re going to be splurging on some holiday goodies, then increase your exercise intensity and time. Instead of 30 minutes, do an hour. Remember if you don’t expend the calories you take in, they’ll stick around as weight gain.

Beat Stress Before It Beats You. 

When you’re stressed, you often crave foods that aren’t exactly the best for you. Also, when stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which can make you store belly fat. The key is to beat stress. Yoga, deep breathing, meditation and even a long soak in the tub are all great ways to combat stress. Also, be sure to take some time for yourself during the holidays. Set aside 10 minutes at least three times a day to breathe, walk, turn off the noise and truly count your blessings.

Woman happily laid back on couch

Don’t Go to Holiday Parties Hungry. 

If you’re already satiated from a healthy meal, you’re less likely to choose high-calorie foods and desserts. Others suggest eating a protein bar before dinner or filling up on raw vegetables or a broth-based soup to keep your tummy satisfied.

Splurge a Little.

Yeah, we said it. This is the time of year that you have access to favorites that you don’t normally get. Grandma’s famous cookies? Aunt Betty’s pecan pie? Those twice-baked cheesy potatoes? The key is to just get a small portion of your favorite dessert or side dish, take a few bites and really savor each one. Then, you’re good! 

Research Your Foods. 

Do a little investigating on your favorite holiday treats and see how many calories they actually have. Then, when faced with temptation you will know exactly what you are in for! For example, one slice of pecan pie could have up to 800 calories!

Stay Away From Sodium. 

Too much sodium in your body will make you retain water and feel bloated and icky. Cut back or totally eliminate salt when preparing or eating dishes.

Get Back in the Saddle. 

If you overdo it one day or at one meal, get back on track the next day (or at the next meal). Don't let one slip-up derail your best efforts to keep your weight in check. You got this! 

Enjoy your holidays! Stay on course and you’ll be glad you did!