How to avoid holiday weight gain is a question we ask often around this time of year.
And it makes total sense that we search high and low for this answer, because most holidays, if not all of them, are centered around food.
Sweet treats and comfort holiday meals seem to be everywhere you look this time of the year. Which is amazing and downright delicious but the cold hard truth is that the holidays will come and go but the pounds you gain during the season will stick around.
What’s worse is that according to abcnews.com, the average person will consume at least 3000 calories on Thanksgiving dinner alone. That’s not adding in drinks, appetizers, or desserts, which can bring the calorie count closer to 4,500! YIKES!
Another statistic you should know is that some studies have shown that on average a person will gain 2-3 pounds from October to December. But there is a different theory floating around out there that says this number is closer to 5-10 pounds!
I feel like I can attest to that! I have gained more than a few pounds over the holidays and because of that, I wanted to create this short but sweet list of the best tips for avoiding holiday weight gain. Let’s get to them!
10 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain
Drink 2 glasses of sparkling water before your meals.
Not only will this help with digestion, but it will also trick your brain into thinking you are full. The carbon dioxide in sparkling water fills your belly with fizzy bubbles that increase gastric activity and gives you that “full” feeling. This will result in you eating less of your holiday meals and therefore limit the weight you gain.
For best results drink two glasses of sparkling water, 30 minutes before your meal. Some of my favorite sparkling water brands are La Croix Sparkling Water, bubly Sparkling Water, and Topo Chico Mineral Water.
Eat your holiday meals with your non-dominant hand.
Eating your food this way brings in a mindfulness factor and helps you become more aware of how and what you are eating. This can help you eat much less food during the holiday season, avoid weight gain, and also remove the mindless eating and face-stuffing habit that so often shows up during the holiday season.
Go easy on the alcohol.
Seasonal Alcoholic drinks like eggnog and apple cider whiskey not only contain tons of calories but they are also packed with sugars! High amounts of sugar can affect your appetite-regulating hormones and make you crave food even after you just ate.
Don’t skip exercise.
Even if you are super busy, and you definitely will be, do not put your exercise regime on the back burner. Instead, find some creative ways to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
This could be as easy as taking a walk around the building during your lunch breaks, parking further away when you head out to holiday shop, or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
RELATED: Gym Workout Tips For Beginners
Be mindful of your stress eating.
Stress seems to come on really easy during the holiday season. Many factors contribute to holiday stress but a few that come to mind are financial reasons, work problems, traveling, and dealing with family members. These high levels of stress can cause you to stress eat and pack on the pounds while you’re at it.
But if you can be a bit more mindful when you make your food choices you take back control. You can then ask yourself, “Is this a normal food choice for me” or “would I be eating this if I wasn’t so stressed out?”
Once you know the answer you can go from there and maybe make a wiser healthier food choice. If you feel the stress coming around try some breathing exercises or meditation or any other stress-relieving exercise that will stop you from stress eating.
Although stress eating can feel really good and taste very yummy, those excess pounds you’ll gain because of stress eating will last longer than that one feel-good moment. Is it really worth it?
Say no to seconds.
Be careful though, the temptation to over serve yourself on the first serving will definitely show up but be strong my friend! In order to avoid holiday weight gain make a commitment to eat just enough to be satisfied and then say no to seconds.
My dad used to always tell me that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I never knew what that meant until I got older and it turns out it is true! What this saying simply means is that my eyes see the food and I think I want it but really my stomach is already full.
Try to overcome this by committing to only one serving. Also, try and eat your meal away from the rest of the food. Out of sight out of mind. You are much more likely to go for seconds if you can see the food staring back at you. But if you don’t then you won’t!
Bring your own healthy dish.
Bringing your own healthy dish puts you in control of what you are eating and also helps you avoid that holiday weight gain. Now instead of only unhealthy calorie-packed food options, you actually have a healthy meal option to choose instead.
For a list of healthy meal options check out this article from Chasing Foxes: 10 Super Healthy and Easy Christmas Dishes You Need to Try
Weigh yourself frequently.
Now I wasn’t a big fan of this idea when I came upon it but after reading more into it, the logic makes total sense. Although I wouldn’t normally recommend you stepping on a scale, in this situation it could be really helpful.
Picture this, you start the holidays at 145. You weigh yourself every other day and slowly start to see the scale moving up and up. That right there could be the catalyst to making better choices during the holiday season and help you keep the holiday weight off.
Everything in moderation.
Give in to your cravings but keep them to a minimum. Have that piece of cake but only one and perhaps just a small piece. It’s the holidays don’t be afraid to indulge because holding yourself back will only make you want it even more, which might even lead you to overindulge or binge.
Get Realistic about your goals during the holidays.
Don’t set yourself up to fail. Setting outrageous and extreme goals like losing 20 pounds during the holidays or working out every single day will only set you up to fail. The holidays are a busy time and they are also meant to be enjoyed and shared with loved ones.
Don’t get caught up in the stress of weight loss or weight gain. Just be mindful of your choices and if you do pack on some pounds, create a new year’s resolution that will help you lose it just as easy as you gained it.
Knowing how to avoid holiday weight gain can help you be prepared to face the holiday season without the worry or guilt of overeating or packing on the pounds. All it takes is a little mindfulness and preparation to stay healthy and reach your weight loss goals. Hopefully, these tips have helped you! Cheers to a happy holiday season!