Worried about holiday weight gain sneaking up on you again?
Just when you’re finally getting your weight in check, comes the holiday season with a platter of extra calories ready to bust your diet.
You may be thinking: Oh, boy! I guess holiday weight gain is really inevitable.
But is it?
Well, if you’re one of those people who see the holiday season as one long, “guilt-free” food fest, then you may be asking for trouble. Holiday weight gain can pack as much as two kilos if you’re not careful.
But what’s a kilo or two when you can just sweat them off right?
It may not be much, but studies show that holiday weight gain tends to “stick around” and accumulate over the years, making it an important factor in adult obesity. And c’mon, how many times has “later” become “never?”
Probably one too many, right?
While making it through the holiday season without packing on extra kilos seems impossible, know that it’s totally doable. Don’t let the holiday weight gain creep up on you!
Here’s what you can do:
Have a plan and stick with it
Ever heard of the saying, “he who fails to prepare, prepares to fail?”
Well, Confucius was right!
Failing to prep for the holiday season would mean a disaster.
And nobody is up for that!
This holiday season, set yourself on a mission: have fun and still wake up to the same dress size come New Year’s Day. And to do that, you need a game plan.
Start by setting realistic goals.
Losing weight and keeping it off is hard, holidays make it even harder.
And while you may still manage to go to the gym most days of the week, aiming to maintain your weight rather than trying to shed off a few more kilos seems more realistic. Stick to what works and don’t stress it. Cut yourself some slack and have a good time, but don’t overindulge on every single occasion. Be choosy!
Food isn’t the only thing that causes the sneaky holiday weight gain. It could be your lack of sweat sesh too.
I get it. You can get caught in the holiday bliss—shopping frenzy, sparkling lights, catching up with family you haven’t seen in ages—and sticking to your workout routine may become the least of your priorities. That’s when things start to go out of hand.
You may be thinking, but I walk A LOT when I shop and that burns calories, right?
Sure, but you also tend to eat A LOT after and we all know that most of the food choices this time around aren’t exactly always “healthy.”
Time to up your fitness game!
Can’t squeeze gym time into your crazy holiday schedule? Easy!
I’ve got here a workout plan you can enjoy in the comfort of your home:
If all else fails, make a conscious decision to keep moving this holiday season by doing simple things such as taking the stairs instead of using the lift and parking your car far away from the grocery store entrance. You’ll be surprised of the results when these little things add up!
Never go to a party hungry
You know you’re not supposed to go grocery shopping unless you want to end up buying things you’d hate yourself for buying later. Sugar-laden snacks, anyone?
The same is true when going to a party.
NEVER go to a party hungry.
But there’s food where I’m going! Besides, I’m making room for the calories I’m about to consume later. It’s all about planning, right?
Yes, planning ahead can save you from falling into the trap of eating all the holiday treats—good or bad. However, skipping meals in order to make room for the calories from the said treats isn’t really the smartest weight-maintenance tactic as it may cause you to binge-eat later on due to your blood sugar levels dropping.
Make sure to snack on protein and fiber-rich foods such as almonds, chicken, brown rice, legumes, and tempeh, to help you feel full and tone down the urge to stuff your face at the party.
You don’t need to have a willpower stronger than steel to make it through the holiday season without extra kilos clinging to your belly.
All you have to do is be picky.
Indulge in holiday treats without feeling guilty by being picky about what and when you eat.
There may be thousands of holiday treats, but if you look closely you’ll notice that most of those goodies are pretty much the same foods you see on any ordinary day—except they are “dressed up in a Christmas costume” and probably hide some additional calories.
So, instead of filling your plate with mini donuts and cupcakes just because they’re decorated with cute snowman and candy canes, indulge in your grandma’s pumpkin pie that’s truly worth the calories!
Mind how you eat
It pays off to pace chewing!
Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that dinner has been served?
Therefore, eating slowly gives your body the time it needs to register “fullness.”
I know it can be hard to “slow down” especially during the holiday season, when there are so many delicious foods to choose from and you’ve got to try everything before it’s gone, but eating slowly is your best bet to avoid insufficient digestion and that sinful second serving that puts you into a food coma.
So slow down and enjoy each bite of good food.
Go easy on alcohol
Alcoholic beverages, no matter how pretty they look like in cocktail glasses, contain loads of calories.
And if you’re not careful, you will be drinking your way to Holiday Weight Gain in no time.
Here’s a trick: If you feel out of place without a drink in hand, try drinking sparkling water in a wine or champagne glass, so you have something to carry around just like everyone else. If it doesn’t do the trick, then go and treat yourself to a glass of red wine and keep your allegiance to water for the rest of the night. Make sure you have a full glass of water between alcoholic beverages to avoid dehydration and a nasty hangover.
Learn to say NO
Just because someone offers you food or a drink doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
If you are scared of offending someone by saying “no” to another slice of blueberry cheesecake that which you know you want to have but probably shouldn’t, then learn how to decline politely.
Do this by saying the food was delicious but you’re stuffed.
If you succeed in doing so, I promise you will thank yourself later.
Focus on people and not on food
Keep in mind that the holiday season is more than just about food.
It’s the time of the year when you can actually hit pause and be grateful for everything that you have in your life.
When you go to a party, take time to admire the decorations instead of digging into every dish you see on the table. Avoid hanging around the food. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.”
Focus on spending time your loved ones as you sure have a lot of catching up to do. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve missed them even if they’re just a call away.
Wishing You a Merry Christmas!
Images courtesy of WeHeartIt