Did you know the average American gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas?!
With all of these wonderful occasions filled with fun, family and friends, there’s also the yummy food…in abundance! But you don’t have to panic thinking you will need to completely miss out on your favorite foods. This journey is not about restriction. It’s about finding balance, enjoying life along the way, and creating better lifestyle habits that work for you. I’ve learned so much since starting my journey in 2008 after losing and keeping off 60 pounds. We can’t have an all or nothing mentality. The best approach for me has been one where I know all of the options I have. Then I pick and choose which indulgent foods I want to enjoy! Another great approach is to perhaps not focus this last 5 weeks of the year on weight loss, but weight maintenance. That in itself, is still a win! So here are my TOP 10 TIPS for avoiding holiday weight gain!
TOP 10 TIPS for enjoying the holiday season while still keeping your wellness goals in mind!
Tip #1 – Take a healthy dish so you have options. If you can, ask the host in advance what will be on the menu. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking. It’s OK to be proactive about your health. This is also a great opportunity to be creative! You can either find a new recipe for a healthy dish or you can make some tweaks to a current favorite to make it a healthier option
Tip #2 – Eat before you go. Plan to have a small meal or snack before so you aren’t overly hungry when you arrive and get tempted to make unhealthy choices. Your small meal should consist of a protein, complex carbohydrates and a healthy fat to hold you over until your main meal. If you want a light snack instead of a meal, a protein bar or a piece of fruit are great options
Tip #3 – Practice moderation. I like to remind myself that I can have what I want, just not all of it, all of the time. Before you eat, scan the food table and scope out your options. Consider what you really want and take small amounts of those items. I try to go for foods that I don’t normally get to eat. I try to fill half my plate with veggies, then the other half with the foods I want to try out
Tip #4 – Hydrate. We can sometimes think we’re hungry when really we’re thirsty. So throughout the day, and with your meals, make sure you drink plenty of water. You should still try to aim for at least 8 ounces of water. Drinking enough water will also help you feel less bloated if you eat too much salty food
Tip #5 – Wait before you go back for seconds. Before you go back for seconds, allow your food time to digest. It normally takes about 20 minutes for our stomach to send the signal to our brains that we’re full. So if you just scarfed down your food and think you need more, try to wait it out first
Tip #6 – Enjoy the festivities for more than just the food. I know we ALL love food, don’t make food the main focus. Try to also focus on building relationships and creating new ones. So ask your favorite aunt what she’s been up to or talk to the visitor in the room and make them feel welcome. You never know, you may even find a new workout buddy!
Tip #7 – Track your food and try to be as honest as possible. I like using MyFitnessPal app to track my meals. You may choose to use a different app or even a journal. I want to enjoy the holiday, but I don’t want to go overboard. So tracking helps me be mindful, yet still enjoy the occasion
Tip #8 – Get back on track the next day. A holiday is just that; a day. When you carry it over to more than a day, that can make it much more difficult to get back on track. You want to have fun, but still keep in mind that you have goals to meet. So create a plan for what the following day will look like as far as meals, working out and of course, water!
Tip #9 – Exercise. I still like to get some activity in for that day to create a calorie deficit so I have a little more flexibility with my food choices. But if your gym is closed, then no worries. You could opt for a home workout, a neighborhood walk or choose to skip it and work out the next day
Tip #10 – Be kind to yourself. If the day doesn’t go as planned, then don’t beat yourself up over it. All it means is that you’re human just like the rest of us. No one is perfect. So dust yourself off and keep pushing forward!
I hope these tips help you! You may choose to follow all, some or none of them at all. The choice is yours. It is up to you to define this journey for yourself on your own terms.
Happy Holidays, be safe, have fun and eat well!
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