It’s holiday time, and you often get a sense of nostalgia when you spend time with family and friends, enjoying holiday activities and the foods you’ve eaten since childhood. So it’s no surprise that Americans gain between 5 and 7 lbs on average during the holiday season, partaking of all the delicious memories! But it doesn’t have to be that way; following these tips will help you avoid winter weight gain and promote weight maintenance during holidays.
Tip #1: Avoid Overeating Triggers
Certain situations are more likely to trigger overeating than others, and once you’re there it’s difficult to pull yourself out. Avoid getting into positions such as:
- Reminiscing with others about holidays during your childhood and the meals you used to eat. This can set off cravings for home-cooked meals you remember, or cause you to overindulge in rich foods.
- Becoming surrounded by tempting food, particularly when you’re hungry. Sample special foods in limited quantities and focus on recognizing physical hunger and satiety cues so you don’t overdo it.
Tip #2: Don’t Deprive Yourself
Skipping meals or avoiding the foods you really love is one of the quickest ways to eat too much. It sounds crazy, but the moment you do it your mind kicks into deprivation mode and the little voice starts telling you how hungry you are, and how much you deserve to have the food you want. Avoid this by:
- Never going to a party hungry: Have a lighter breakfast or lunch, or take along a healthy snack to fill the gap in case the meal is delayed.
- Sampling the foods you’re excited about: Instead of telling yourself you can’t have them, allow yourself a taste of each. Then realize when you’ve had enough, don’t wait until you feel full to stop.
Tip #3: Plan Ahead and Bring a Safety Dish
Don’t wait until you arrive at the family holiday party to realize there’s nothing you can safely eat and stick to your diet program! Find out ahead of time what’s on the menu and take along a contribution to the feast that works for you. A vegetable tray with hummus dip will counteract some of the higher calorie options, and give you something to fall back on even if there’s nothing else healthy to eat.
Plan to sit well out of arm’s reach of the buffet table, and load up on fruits and veggies before you tackle the richer foods available.
Tip #4: Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol is generally high in calories and has the habit of making you feel like another, especially during a celebration. Drinking too much alcohol will increase your blood sugar, total calories, and can cause overeating. Choosing water as an alternative keeps you hydrated, supports a lower caloric intake and avoids any unpleasant side effects.
Tip #5: Stay Active
This is as important during the holidays as it is at any other time. Physical activity not only allows you to burn more calories, but it tends to help you make healthier choices at mealtimes and for snacks. Find a family activity to take part in, walk the dog or go window-shopping. No matter where your celebration is held, you can find something to do to keep active.
Weight maintenance during holidays doesn’t have to be difficult; it just takes some planning ahead and a little determination to protect your waistline.