Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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There is one thing you need to do to avoid holiday weight gain: Make the same healthy choices that you make the rest of the year! If you have developed healthy habits throughout the year, then the holidays should not be an excuse to stop exercising, indulge in sweets and alcohol, stay up too late and sleep too little. Many people give up on their goals for the year. They gain weight and then start the cycle again of trying to lose weight in the New Year. I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. There is no reason to resolve to do something on January 1, that you can start doing today. Live the month of December with all the healthy intention that you have during the rest of the year.

Make Exercise A Priority

December is busy. It is tempting to cancel your workout in order to get things off your to-do list. However, you need to make time to look after yourself first. Exercise will strengthen your willpower to make healthy choices throughout the day. Start your day with your workout. Make it a priority. You can do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts at home using just your body weight or resistance bands. HIIT is a time-efficient and effective calorie-blasting start to your day. Check out this link for HIIT ideas: https://www.facebook.com/VitalActiveLiving/videos/152615548694583/

Make Wise Healthy Eating Choices

Sweets may abound, but that is not a reason to eat them. If you have practiced eating healthy during the rest of the year, make the same choices in December in order to avoid holiday weight gain. Drink lots of water. Eat protein with every meal. Don’t reach for carbs as your go-to food group. Eat lots of vegetables. Eat one-ingredient foods rather than processed foods. Plan your meals for each week or for the month. Make time now to cook ahead to have some prepared meals in the freezer for the busy days coming up. Prepare lots of healthy snack options. To plan a week of meals, see Weekly Meal Planning for Healthy Eating Success

Do not stop at the display of chocolates at the entrance of groceries stores. They are placed there to tempt you. If co-workers bring treats to work, politely decline, and bring your healthy snacks to munch on instead. When you do want a taste of something, you do not need to eat a whole serving. The three-bite rule is usually sufficient.

Limit Liquid Calories

Drinks such as alcohol, soft drinks, cider, egg nog, and punch are empty calories. They will likely get stored as fat. Alcohol will also affect your ability to make good food choices, and you can end up overeating the wrong foods. Water, unsweetened herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee are ways to fill up your stomach without loading up on calories. If you are going to consume alcohol, the best tip is to avoid pre-dinner drinks. Eat your dinner with a clear head. If you still want that glass of wine, at least there will be food in your stomach.

It’s Not About the Parties

Of course there will be parties and family dinners during the holidays. Focus on the relationships rather than the food. Don’t hover over the hor d’oeuvres. Choose wisely, eat only the healthy foods you want to eat. Eat only the portion you would normally eat. Choose your favourite dessert and have a small portion. Savour it slowly and mindfully.

As important as self-control is, avoiding holiday weight gain is not all about depriving yourself at the party. It is about the other 20 meals that you eat during the week before the party. And the 20 meals that you eat during the week after the party. Eat well for all the other days. Remember the 80/20 rule. Eat really well 80 percent of the time. Make sure that it is actually 80 percent, and not 70/30 or 60/40 or what many people do: 20/80.

Manage Your Stress

Stress can be a major cause of weight gain and a major roadblock to weight loss. Be aware of your triggers for stress-eating or stress-drinking. Determine to manage your stress in healthy ways, such as exercise, deep-breathing, mindfulness, and most importantly, good planning and organization.

Get Enough Sleep

Just like you prioritized the start of your day with exercise, prioritize the end of your day with sleep. Your body functions best with consistent sleep and wake times. If you are going to be attending a late-night social event, try to have a nap before the event. Then aim to consistently get enough sleep the rest of the week.

In summary, maintain balance in your life. The new you starts now! As you focus on loving those around you, let exercise and healthy eating be a part of your Merry Christmas!

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