How to Avoid Gaining Weight During the Holidays
With the holidays quickly approaching, weight gain is a common concern around this time of year for many people. The seasonal holiday traditions tend to encourage overeating or overindulging of calorie-rich foods. In fact, adults will gain an average of 1 pound during the months of mid-November to mid-January. Although this may not seem like much, most people won’t lose the extra pounds they’ve gained during the cozy season. With that said, the holidays are one of the biggest reasons you gain weight during the year. Because the holidays make it too tempting to indulge a little extra, here are some tips you can remind yourself to try to avoid weight gain during Thanksgiving and Christmas time.
How to Avoid Gaining Weight During the Holidays
1. Stay active
You might find it harder to leave the comfort of your couch or bed during the colder months, but it is vital to push through the laziness to commit participate in some form of exercise throughout the week. It is no secret that inactivity accompanied by overeating may contribute to weight gain and it’s important to do what we can to avoid those unwanted pounds. Plan some physical activities such as bowling, rock climbing, or taking aerobic classes with some family or friends to help motivate each other to remain active. You can also sign up for sports, or a community fitness event to help hold you accountable.
2. Snack less
Cookies, hot cocoa, cakes, and pies seem to be irresistible during this time of year and we as a society have decided Christmas calories shouldn’t count...but the scale definitely does. Constantly being around freshly baked cookies, snacks, and treats makes conscious eating harder. Try to be more mindful about snacking habits such as much during work - if you notice you gravitate towards food because you’re bored instead of hungry. Also, try to keep treats out of sight when you’re at home as well as stock your pantry with healthier snacks to set yourself up with the better choices such as whole foods - nuts, fruits, vegetables, and seeds are satiating snacks that don’t contain unhealthy fats or added sugars (known to contribute to weight gain). Save those extra calories for work parties, family, or friend gatherings where it’s inevitable to indulge.
3. Portion control
It’s hard not to eat with our eyes, especially when presented with a huge feast before us during the holidays, a favorite time of year for many. You can quickly overload your plate before you even know it. However, people who eat larger portions typically gain more weight than those who eat smaller portions. A great tip is to use smaller plates and bowls every meal to trick your mind into feeling full even with smaller portions. Follow food labels and research (or use your best judgement if neither are available) to determine the appropriate recommended portion sizes for your meals and recipes.
4. Modify your recipes
Homemade goods are a huge culprit for weight gain during this time of year. However, there are ways you can help regulate your caloric intake by modifying the recipes of your favorite holiday treats without having to avoid them altogether. When it comes to baking, you can replace recipes that call for butter with applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree instead. Cook savory dishes using herbs and spices rather than butter and limit how much salt you use. Opt to bake, steam, or grill as your cooking method over frying foods. Use greek yogurt in place of cream cheese or sour cream. These are some simple tweaks you can adopt to still enjoy the foods you love!
5. Skip seconds
Most of the time, our holiday feasts are served buffet-style, with unlimited options and amounts. This type of display tends to easily lead to seconds or even a third helping. As tempting as it may be, try to limit yourself to just one plate of food since these calorie-dense meals from the holiday gatherings can easily start adding up and lead to unwanted weight gain.
It may seem easier to start your diet after the holidays, but prolonging unhealthy habits will only result in a steeper hill to climb. Although the tips discussed today are very useful, it requires consistency as well as a commitment in order to see improved results. If you are really serious about keeping your weight under control, it’s important to start now. Set limits and stick to your goals as the holidays creep up. Remember that you can still enjoy yourself with holiday feasts and treats without having to overdo it.
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