Did you know that the average American will gain seven pounds during the holiday season? Sometimes it may feel like more, especially when we’re going to party after party or family event after family event. And let’s not discount all of those yummy goodies that we make for family members and loved ones. Or the occasional treats we have when we’re out shopping or admiring festive holiday displays. Yes, this time of the year can be dangerous for dieters or for those of us who are trying to be mindful of our weight. But how can we avoid that weight gain or at least keep it to a minimum? Here are my top tips to avoid holiday weight gain.
The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day has to be the hardest few weeks to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle or any diet for that matter. We are constantly tempted by sweats, treats and just way to much food in general.
Even though this time of year may bring upon additional stresses and challenges, there are ways to find balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Though at times it may seem impossible to bypass the season’s traditional foods, there are many ways to partake in the fun without increasing your pant size.
The festivities don’t have to be eliminated or avoided. You can have a fabulous time while also maintaining your weight and your fitness regimen.
Moderation is the word of the season.
It’s the secret to achieving a fun but also healthy holiday time. With a moderate approach both to what you eat (or don’t eat) and how much exercise you do (or don’t do), you can avoid packing on weight AND also partake in all the fun of this time of year. So this season, get a head start on the New Year instead of starting January with extra pounds to lose.
13 Easy Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
• Create a plan ahead of time. Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to working out.
• If you work in an office setting be prepared for the deluge of guilty treats your co-workers and other business associates will graciously want to share. Stash your own healthy snacks in your desk so you won’t be tempted to overindulge when your grumbling stomach demands a 3:00 snack time.
• Don’t put your fitness goals on hold until the New Year. If you can’t exercise as often during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Don’t use the excuse that since you don’t have time for your full workout you just won’t workout at all. Instead accept your limited availability and simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise. It’s much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it.
• When attending a holiday function, try to eat ahead of time to lessen your hunger. If the party is in the evening, eat breakfast, lunch and a snack before hand (just as you would on any other day). Since you have eaten meals earlier in the day, you’ll be less tempted to go overboard and eat everything in sight. However, if you instead starve all day long attempting to “save up” all your calories for the party, you will be so famished by the time it begins that it will be difficult not to overeat.
• Schedule your workouts. Mark them on the calendar and set-aside time to complete them. Consider them as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar.
If you’d like some help with that, be sure to download my free printable holiday workout calendar!
• At holiday dinners, skip the gravy, dressings, and high-calorie condiments.
• On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You’ll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. Even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, that is still a lot better than zero minutes.
• When at a party, scout out healthy food options rather than doing a grab and run on all the unhealthy selections. For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit pieces, plain chicken pieces, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings. You will be less likely to overindulge on these foods if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items. Yet, you will not feel deprived or unsatisfied.
• Exercise at home. You’ll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don’t have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won’t waste any time on driving, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little equipment (it even can be equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive.
• Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you’ve drunk the equivalent calories of an entire meal. If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water or with a diet soda. This will help cut your calories in half.
• When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home.
• Don’t linger at the buffet or in the kitchen. If you loiter in close proximity to all the guilty temptations, you’ll struggle to keep from unconsciously shoveling food into your mouth.
• Focus on socializing. Remember one of the great things about the holidays is spending time with friends and family. During get-togethers spend the majority of time sharing conversation instead of sharing desserts.
Hopefully these tips will help you find a balance between staying fit and also enjoying the fun of the season. Remember, moderation is the key. Have a great holiday season!
Is this something that you’ve conquered? What tips would you share to avoid holiday weight gain?