14 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays
The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, but the indulgent atmosphere can have some unfortunate consequences.
If you’re not careful, it can lead to weight gain or even put you at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Now, no one is saying that you should miss out on the fun.
However, there are ways to make it through these holidays without packing on extra pounds.
By making a few changes to your routine, you can cut back on calories and improve your overall well-being.
If you want to enjoy this season without the added stress of trying to resist all those treats, follow these 20 tips that will help prevent weight gain during the holiday season.
Now, I have put this at the top of the list because I feel like it’s the most important.
Planning ahead for what you are going to eat is necessary if you want to lose weight around this time of year.
Make a resolution that you will write down everything that you eat during the holidays, even if it’s just a simple piece of candy or cupcake.
Doing this helps cut back on mindless eating and ensures that you don’t go overboard with your favorite foods.
Eating out less is another great way to avoid weight gain during the holidays.
If there is no food in your house, then there’s nothing you can eat, which means avoiding all those family dinners where everyone else goes nuts with their eating habits.
When you do eat out, try to make healthier choices by ordering a salad or grilled chicken instead of something deep-fried.
Get active with family and friends
One of the best ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays is to be active with your loved ones.
Playing games like tag or football is a great way to have some fun and get in some exercise at the same time.
Take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner or go ice skating.
The more active you are, the less likely you are to indulge in unhealthy foods.
Keep a food diary
Not too sure how many of you have tried a food diary, but it’s an excellent tool that can help you become more aware of your eating habits.
Writing down everything you eat and drink is a great way to make sure that you don't go over your daily calorie goal.
Also, be as specific as possible when logging what you consume.
It may be easy to remember the large slice of pumpkin pie; however, try capturing all those little snacks/drinks throughout the day as well.
If properly utilised, a food journal can really help pinpoint: which days/meals leave your stomach feeling unhappy and bloated? Is there too much salt in one dinner meal? Are you drinking enough water? How many caffeine-filled beverages end up in your daily tally?
By keeping track of all the foods and drinks you consume, you'll have a better understanding of how to make healthier choices.
And if you do overindulge on one particular day, it's not the end of the world! Just make sure that you get back on track the next day.
Watch your portion sizes
One thing that tends to happen during the holidays is eating more than we need.
Oversized portions can quickly add up to excess calories and weight gain.
So, when ordering food or preparing meals, be conscious of how much you are putting on your plate.
Aim to have smaller, regular-sized meals rather than 3 large ones throughout the day. This will ensure that your body has time to digest properly and won't be overloaded with food.
Another way to help control portion size is to use a smaller dish. If you are used to having a large bowl of cereal in the morning, try a medium or small-sized bowl instead. You may find that you are just as satisfied with less food.
Avoid drinking your calories
Ha, I can hear a collective groan for everyone reading this. I know, it's really tough to say no to that delicious mulled wine or eggnog.
However, liquid calories can quickly add up and have a negative impact on your weight loss goals.
Alcohol in particular is high in sugar and calories, so it's best to avoid drinking as much as possible during the holidays.
If you do find yourself wanting a drink, try choosing a light beer or red wine instead of something heavier like brandy or whiskey.
And if you're really craving something sweet, go for a festive spiced cider or hot chocolate instead of high-calorie cocktails.
Continue to Train
Just because we are in the middle of the festive season, it doesn't mean that we should take a break from our fitness routine.
In fact, continuing to train can actually help us stay on track with our goals.
Not only does working out make us feel good mentally and physically, but it can also help counteract all the extra calories we are consuming.
So, if you have been skipping the gym recently, now is the time to get back into your routine.
If you're not sure where to start, try downloading one of the many fitness apps available or finding an online workout video. There are plenty of options out there that can accommodate any level of fitness.
Bring a healthy dish to share
One way to ensure that you have a healthy option at holiday gatherings is to bring a dish yourself.
This way you know there will be at least one healthy option available and you can avoid temptation.
Plus, it's a great way to show off your cooking skills!
When selecting a dish to bring, try to choose something that is lower in calories and doesn't contain too much sugar.
Some of our favourites include roasted Brussels sprouts, homemade guacamole or simple grilled chicken skewers.
Avoid eating late at night
I know, I know, this one isn't that realistic. I mean, who doesn't consume a hearty meal of leftovers and desserts at 10 pm?
While I am all for enjoying yourself and indulging in the holiday spirit, try to avoid eating too late at night.
It takes at least 2 hours for your stomach to digest each meal, so when we eat dinner too close to bedtime it can cause discomfort and indigestion.
If you do find yourself dying for a midnight snack, opt for something light like yogurt or fruit salad instead of chips and cookies.
Get your five servings of veggies and fruit each day
Making sure you have a good portion of veggies and fruits each day is a great way to stay healthy during the holidays.
These foods are naturally high in nutrients which can help support your immune system when everyone else seems to be coming down with something.
Plus, they contain fiber which can help you feel full for longer and curb cravings to eat more.
Some of our favourite ways to add veggies into our meals include adding shredded carrots or cauliflower to mashed potatoes, making a delicious fruit salad to go with dinner, or swapping out regular pasta for vegetable noodles like zucchini or spaghetti squash.
Limit your dessert intake
This time of year we really love all the sweet treats and rich desserts that come along with Christmas (and let's face it, New Years too).
Although we love having a sweet treat once in a while, it's important to limit our intake for healthy digestion and weight loss.
Try to avoid eating sugary treats like chocolates and candy canes after dinner each night and save them for special occasions.
If you want something sweet after dinner, try reaching for baked fruit or homemade popsicles instead of cookies or cakes.
Get plenty of Zs during the holidays
With all the holiday planning, shopping, and cooking going on around the house this time of year, it often gets stressful trying to get everything done.
I know I am always exhausted by the end of December! And when we have stressed out our bodies release cortisol which can cause us to gain weight.
Finding time each day for some relaxation is key, whether that's taking a 15min power nap after lunch or getting an early night of sleep each night.
Some other great ways to lower cortisol levels are adding in more carbs to your diet (but choosing whole grain over white), taking an afternoon walk, and squeezing in yoga at home when you have some spare minutes.
When all else fails... Stay motivated!
Keeping your goals top of mind while trying out new recipes or making healthy choices can really help you stay on track this holiday season.
Sometimes it just takes reminding ourselves why we started our fitness journey in the first place!
I have found that keeping my "why" up around the house really helps me stay on track, whether that's a picture of my family or a goal I am working towards.
Eat breakfast every morning
By ensuring you have breakfast each morning you are helping your body to properly fuel up and stay satisfied throughout the day.
This can help to reduce cravings that can often lead to more snacking or eating of poor quality foods.
Each morning try to have a good portion of protein with your breakfast, like Greek yogurt or eggs.
This will help keep you feeling full for longer periods of time and curb sugar cravings throughout the day.
Avoid processed foods
Did you know that processed foods are linked to weight gain, inflammation in the body, and are known risk factors for cancer?
Every time we fuel our bodies with poor quality foods or excessive amounts of junk food it can create excess toxins in our system which makes staying healthy throughout the holidays much harder.
Instead, opt for whole foods that are made from scratch in your own kitchen. This will give you more control over what ingredients are included in each meal, ensuring they are fresh and high in nutrients.
Even when you're purchasing packaged products try to choose ones that have a shortlist of ingredients listed on the back and avoid any preservatives like sodium nitrate (which is linked to causing inflammation).
The holidays are a time of year where we often find ourselves with more temptations to overeat and indulge in unhealthy foods.
This article will share 14 tips on how you can avoid weight gain during the holiday season so that you won't have to worry about it come January 1st!
We hope these suggestions help keep your body healthy and happy, even when surrounded by all those tempting treats this December.
What have you done in the past to avoid weight gain during the holidays?
Let us know in the comments below!