Let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful. Large meals are a tradition for many families during the holidays, but when combined with stress, it can lead to overeating and weight gain.
The average American gains about one pound of weight during the holidays. Doesn’t sound like much, right? The problem with holiday weight gain results when we never lose that one pound. Weight gain compounds year-after-year if no action is taken, and it gets easier to blame the holidays.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can combat the potential holiday weight gain while also still enjoying yourself!
Keep your routine
There’s a lot of pressure during the holidays to be at a certain place at a certain time, which can involve a lot of travel that disrupts our daily routine.
Make an effort to keep your daily routine during the holidays. That includes exercising, sleeping and eating at your normal times.
Try to be active
The weather can certainly be crummy in northern Indiana from October through February, which can lead people to avoid going for that walk outdoors or sneaking in a quick run. Come up with a plan to stay active even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Try to be active at least an hour every day during the holiday season to help combat potential weight gain from a sedentary lifestyle. If you don’t feel you have an hour to spare, try splitting it up into 10-minute increments every day. Keep it fun, invite family or friends to join you!
Get enough sleep
Between shorter daylight hours, the end of Daylight Saving Time, travel and stress, sleep can feel like a hot commodity during the holidays. However, good sleep is important to maintaining a healthy weight.
People who are sleep deprived are hungrier and have a bigger appetite, according to research from the National Library of Medicine. That means you’re going to be more likely to indulge in overeating when presented with a lot of food at the holiday buffet.
Getting a good night’s sleep will help you feel more energized and less hungry overall. Do your best to maintain your regular sleep schedule, even if that means saying good night to your guests early.
Don’t show up hungry
Starving yourself ahead of time is a surefire way to ensure you overeat. While you’ll no doubt want to enjoy all of the wonderful dishes during the holidays, starving yourself isn’t the answer.
Have a lighter breakfast or lunch with fewer carbs than normal instead of starving yourself. That can help you feel full while still being able to enjoy the holiday dinner.
Mind your portions
It can be tempting to pile on the potatoes and gravy, but large portions will come back to bite you in the belly with weight gain later on.
A simple way to try and help limit your portion size is to ask your host if they have a smaller plate you can use. Having less plate real estate means you’ll be less likely to overindulge in large portions.
Skip the second helping
Okay, so you switched to a smaller plate, but now you want to get seconds, thirds or maybe even fourths to make up for it!
Be mindful that calories start stacking up quickly the more helpings you have. If the green bean casserole is just too good to pass up a second helping, try to avoid filling your entire plate with other food on your second go around.
Avoid over snacking
Depending on what’s being served, it can take around 4 hours to cook that holiday meal. That leaves a lot of time for snacking.
There will probably be several bowls of chips, dips, plates of homemade cookies and other sugary, high-fat treats that are also high in simple carbohydrates. Not only that, you’ll likely have an office party or two during the holidays where you’ll also be snacking on these foods!
Be aware of how much snacking you’re actually doing during the holidays and try to limit your intake of unhealthy foods.
Don’t forget your fruits and veggies
Yes, holiday meals are usually all about the meat and potatoes, but if you want to avoid weight gain don’t forget about the fruit and veggies.
Fruit and veggies make an excellent snack alternative while you’re waiting for the rest of the meal to cook. Just avoid loading them up with dips like ranch or caramel sauce.
Veggie trays are an excellent option of food to bring to the table when it seems like everything else is taken care of. Even better, offer to bring the salad fixings for the meal!
Don’t sweat it, enjoy yourself!
Remember that, at the end of the day, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Weight management isn’t something that can be accomplished a couple of days during the year, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next.
If you’re concerned about your weight, the team at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction can help. Our Colleagues are available to help no matter what stage you’re at in your weight loss journey.
Our holistic approach to weight loss means we can care for every part of you, not just your waistline. We work with you personally to find the plan that’s right for you. Call us for more information at 574-537-8326.