holiday weight gain

TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN

1024 1024 Delphine Remy | Holistic Nutrition & Eating Psychology Coach

We’re well into the holiday season and with Halloween and Thanksgiving under our belts (literally) we have one last holiday feast to check off the seasonal list. If you’ve been enjoying the festivities, holidays parties and eggnog – your pants may be feeling a little snug right about now. If fact, did you know the average person gains about one pound during the holiday season? Which may not sound like a lot most people don’t lose the weight after the holiday season ends. So on average, a typical American is putting on one pound a year (at the very least) in their adulthood. Believe it or not — it adds up! So how do we avoid holiday weight gain without putting a damper on Christmas?

Empty stomachs and parties don’t mix.
It’s never a good idea to leave for a party on an empty stomach. Even if you know the party you are attending is serving food, it’s always a good idea to prime yourself for the evening. Make yourself a quick snack that contains protein to tide you over. Hummus and fresh veggies, half an avocado, a fruit, or nuts are all great pre-party snacks. The last thing you want is to become VERY hungry at a party only serving chips and dip. Eating prior will help prevent any blood sugar spikes and keep you in a festive mood.

Eating prior will also prevent premature intoxication once the bottles start flowing. Be it the holiday season or not, always drink responsibly. Sip wisely and drink slowly, hydrating with a glass of water in between spirits or wine. Staying hydrated will help fill your stomach, prevent overeating junk food party snacks and alcohol.

Stay active.
A high calorie intake coupled with a lot sedentary activities like eating, and watching sports…during winter months, can be the perfect storm for weight gain. Stay ahead of it by staying active. Invite your family for a nice stroll one or twice a week; or take advantage of the great weather and take your dogs for a brisk jog. If you are looking to join a gym or fitness center, the end of year is the time to do it to take advantage of competitive pricing and options.

Don’t over do it.
It never fails that the holidays have us feeling like we earned that third piece of pie. We somehow justify that it’s a once a year splurge and once the holidays are over, we’ll go back to our usual eating habits. While this is mostly true, as we get older our body simply doesn’t metabolize the ginormous portion sizes we were once able to when we were younger and overeating can not only lead to weight gain but can cause long term health effects such as high blood pressure and heart disease. With that in mind — take a different approach this holiday season. Survey the spread prior to serving yourself. Choose favorites you know you’ll enjoy and skip the foods you could do without but in the process be sure to create a balanced plate that includes a protein and veggies. Avoid ‘overdoing it’ by eating until you’re satisfied… not full. This simple practice will give your brain enough time to send the signal that ‘its full’ before you get to preparing another plate. (approximately 20 minutes).

Eat mindfully.
Practice mindful eating this season by taking a moment to truly be in the moment when you eat. Make it a point to have a seat at the dining table with your family to enjoy the bounty and show gratitude for the time and energy it took to produce such a wonderful meal. Consider the efforts you yourself made and those of others. Consider turning off any electronics such as TVs or cell phones so that you and your dinner mates can enjoy your meal without distractions. Distractions tend to make us less aware of how much we’ve eaten creating a disconnect between our brain and our stomach which causes us to continue eating even after we’re full. If you know there will be a lot of distractions, consider using a smaller plate to control your servings and portion sizes to avoid overdoing it.

If you are truly serious about preventing weight gain over the holidays, it may be helpful to have a “come to Jesus talk” with yourself prior to the start of the holiday season to set some rules and limitations. Decide what foods are worth it and which you can do without. The holiday is a time to be thankful, merry and share in holiday cheer with friends and loved ones and the last thing you want is to be focused on dieting or a concern for weight gain while serving yourself at a holiday dinner. So instead of being blindsided by 3 months of poor decision making come January, simply set rules for maintaining your nutrition and wellness goals and practice discipline and self control.

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