Top 5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
The final weeks leading up to the New Year can pose the greatest challenge when it comes to avoiding holiday weight gain.
Throughout the year, we work hard to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Despite our commitment to health and months of dedication, the arrival of the holiday season always seems to challenge resolve. As we approach the final stretch of the holiday season, hectic schedules and continuous temptation make staying healthy a challenge. Although we successfully made it through Thanksgiving and several holiday parties, the last few weeks leading up to the New Year are especially busy- constant traveling, extended family visits and days off from work make it almost impossible to maintain a regular routine.
To finish the year out right and start the New Year putting your best foot forward, we have compiled a list to pinpoint the greatest challenges and identify the top tips to avoid holiday weight gain.
Avoid Holiday Weight Gain- Have a Predetermined Solution for the Most Common Challenges
CHALLENGE: Travel Days
Whether traveling by car or by plane, holiday travel is often chaotic. Long car rides and early morning or late night flights often lead to less than healthy food choices. Road trips are often synonymous with drive through dining. Similarly, airport food courts tend to be filled with fast food restaurants and other less than healthy dining options.
TIP: Plan Ahead & Pack Your Own Meals & Snacks and Choose Water.
Stock up on healthy snacks that you can easily pack with you to munch on while travelling. Fresh fruit and vegetables, beef jerky, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and individual packets of tuna or salmon are healthy go-to options while traveling. A pre-made salad or an all-natural peanut butter sandwich is a healthy and convenient in-flight meal option. In addition to these nonperishable items, a cooler filled with gel ice packs makes it easy to bring pre-made healthy meals with you during a long car ride. Hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken or tuna salad can be made quickly and easily the night before and conveniently packed for long car rides. Opt for water instead of juices or soda. In addition to keeping you hydrated, water is a zero calorie option that will quench your thirst and keep you full to prevent the mindless snacking that often occurs while travelling.
CHALLENGE: Extended Visits (as the guest)
Holiday visits provide a perfect opportunity to catch up with family and friends and tend to be lots of fun. That being said, as a house guest, you are often at the mercy of your host when it comes to the menu. Chances are your gracious host has gone above and beyond to ensure that everyone has a great time and is well-fed. During the holidays, a surplus of cakes, cookies and other goodies tend to take over festively displayed on countertops and tables for all to share. In addition to food challenges, being away from home often makes it difficult to maintain your normal exercise routine, especially if you usually go to a gym or a specific class.
TIP: Be Selective & Propose Family Activities That Get Everyone Moving
You may not have complete control when it comes to meal options, but you can be selective about what you choose to eat and how much. Choosing light and/or high protein options at breakfast and lunch will help prevent you from stocking up on unnecessary calories. For example, if your host serves eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, and fresh fruit, skip the pancakes and center your meal around the eggs. Not only will you reduce your calorie intake, high protein options tend to stick with you longer which will help you resist the tasty treats displayed throughout the house.
When it comes to exercise- be flexible. You may not have access to your gym or favorite class, but you can be active and promote fun activities that get everyone moving. For example, propose an after dinner walk through the neighborhood to check out the neighbors’ Christmas decorations. Wake up early and go for a brisk walk or jog. Take everyone ice skating. Movement matters- simply staying active will help you avoid holiday weight gain, and it’s great for your mood and stress level.
CHALLENGE: Extended Visits (as the host)
Hosting friends and family during the holidays is always fun and exciting but it can make it difficult to maintain your normal healthy routine. Many of the same challenges arise whether you’re the holiday host or the holiday guest. For example, you want to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable- and meals play a major role in holiday festivities and family gatherings.
TIP: Prepare Healthy Festive Meals & Plan Fun Activities That Promote Activity
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of online resources that provide tasty healthy recipe ideas that everyone will love. A quick search for “healthy holiday breakfast recipes” will yield a variety of awesome healthy ideas that will wow your guests. When you do prepare those tasty traditional holiday recipes, make sure to include some healthy options too. That way you can fill up on the healthy foods and limit your portion size when it comes to tasty treats.
CHALLENGE: Holiday Feasts
Holiday feasts are a delicious way to celebrate the holiday season with loved ones. However, the wide selection of amazing foods and yummy treats can be very tempting and sometimes lead to situations of overeating.
TIP: Observe the Selection, Be Choosy & Eat Slowly
Before diving into the delicious feast, scan the table and select only your favorite unhealthy options. Try to center your meal around the protein, and select smaller portions of only your favorite side dishes. Also, try to eat slowly- chat between forkfuls. Not only will you be able to enjoy the company around you, you will be less likely to overeat because your body will have the time it needs to register that it’s full.
CHALLENGE: Holiday Leftovers
Holiday gatherings normally generate an abundance of delicious leftovers that can be tempting to eat in the days following an event.
TIP: Share the holiday leftovers
Instead of stocking your fridge with holiday goodies, send your family and friends home with tasty holiday care packages. Not only will your guests be appreciative, but you will eliminate the temptation that comes from having an abundance of leftover holiday treats. A great way to avoid holiday weight gain is to limit the amount of holiday treats that remain in your home.
Lastly, remember to RELAX- don’t beat yourself up when you do indulge on your holiday favorites. Doing so will only make you feel guilty and guilt is counterproductive. Remember, the holiday season is meant to be joyful. It’s a time to gather with family and friends and celebrate relationships. Don’t be overly restrictive or rigid- enjoy the season! Our tips are meant to provide simple, easy to follow solutions that will help your avoid holiday weight gain and enjoy the season.