10 Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Weight Gain

A study published by The New England Journal of Medicine found that holiday weight-gain for the average American amounts to approximately 1 pound per year. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but most of the subjects in the paper also didn’t lose that weight in the following spring and summer months, and the gains compound over the years. Here are 10 tips to avoid the holiday weight gain:
  1. Don’t save up your food allowance for that Thanksgiving Dinner: skipping breakfast and lunch because you know you’ll be binging in the evening is never a good idea. You’ll end up ravenous right when you’re surrounded with food. New York psychologist Carol Goldberg, PhD, suggests a better solution would be to have a protein-rich light lunch, and a 100-150 calorie snack before dinner. That way you’ll have some energy in you to fight those “hangry” urges!
  2. Build in splurges to your plan: staying healthy doesn’t mean being hard on yourself. It’s really easy to get discouraged when you feel like you’re not cutting yourself any slack. It’s like being overworked – you’ll burn out quickly if you don’t give yourself some breathing room. Make sure you’re letting yourself indulge for a couple of meals a week; and hammer it home that you’re still on track to reach your goals!
  3. Share the love: if you’re hosting, grab some cheap tupperware before your holiday dinners. This means that you can encourage your guests to take some food home, so you’re not tempted by a fridge full of deliciousness after your event is over.
  4. De-stress: gifting, hosting, and extended family can take its toll, and sometimes, the holiday season can leave us more exhausted than relaxed. This year, don’t forget to take a couple of breaks and enjoy yourself! Stress increases your appetite, and also causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. (It combines with insulin to optimize your body to store fat.) It’s definitely not a combination that will help you stay positive. So when you burn those buns, just breathe and stay calm. You’ve got this!
  5. Enjoy the others: parties aren’t just about the food – they’re also about the company. You can kill two birds with one stone by finding an engaging conversation at your next get-together. It’ll distract you from the mindless munching, and you can let out that social butterfly you’ve always had in you.
  6. Bring some goodies, sneak in the veggies: take it on yourself to bring something to the party if you’re not hosting. That way you’ll have some control over what you eat. And you’ll know that there’s an option for you to fill up on the healthy option that you had on hand.
  7. Drink heavily: make sure you stay hydrated! It’ll help curb your appetite. More importantly, keep in mind that wine is a great choice for the holidays. It’s cosy, sippable, and contains less calories per serving than eggnog, mudslides, or even hard liquor. There’s plenty of smart substitutes that you can make at a holiday dinner without feeling like you’re missing out on the festivities!
  8. Moving while you’re on the move: if you’re running errands, or moving between parties, opt to walk when you can. Holiday season can be busy, but whether it’s down the road, up the stairs, or around the corner, staying active (yes, we know it’s cold) will help you get in some exercise even as you check items off your to-do list. Also keep in mind that those awkward 15 minutes between your calendar events don’t have to go to waste. Quick bodyweight exercises and functional workouts are a great way to condense a workout into a short amount of time while also maintaining your fitness level, working multiple muscle groups and increasing metabolism. Don’t let those limitations become excuses!
  9. Make appointments: build in some time to stay healthy, whether through meditation or exercise. Budget time, and add it to your calendar, so that you’ll have something to hold you accountable. You can go solo or make it a date with friends if you’re looking to take it to the next level. Achieving your goals means maintaining your motivation, and you can up your chances for success by roping in a buddy, and keeping your workouts fun. Keep in mind that running on a treadmill is not the only form of exercise out there! There’s something for everyone – whether it’s yoga, a walk around the neighborhood, or strength training – you should look for something that you’ll enjoy.
  10. Get more ZZZs: sleep deprivation is strongly tied to increases in appetite because your body is craving more energy. Make sure you’re not skimping on the sleep – get a full 7-8 hours or quality snooze-time.
When you’re short on time, even a 10-15 minute workout makes a difference. Browse (HERE) on BurnAlong and check out the quick workouts.
Happy Thanksgiving!
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