5 Simple Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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The Holidays are a wonderful time of year, and there is so much to appreciate, to enjoy, and to be thankful for. This is also the time of year when many of us gain a lot more than just quality time with friends and family. Putting on an extra 5 to 10 pounds isn’t difficult to do and for most, they will spend the next 6 months or more working to get it off.  To help you stay focused on your health and fitness goals, here are 5 simple ways to avoid holiday weight gain.

Get some sleep.

The Holidays are a busy time for most of us whether it be holiday shopping, family and friends coming into town, traveling, cooking, cleaning, kids programs at school, projects, volunteering, and the list goes on. This is why it’s especially important to get plenty of rest, take care of yourself and take time to relax. Sleep is critical for a healthy immune system and maintaining a healthy weight. Adults normally need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep to help reduce stress, fatigue, exhaustion and fight off sickness…all of these factors can also lead to overeating during stressful times. Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugars, especially if you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep. Doing some light exercise, such as yoga or Pilates, a couple of hours before you go to bed will also help to reduce holiday anxiety and stress. Or, try to unwind before bed by taking a hot shower or bath.

Drink water before every meal.

The best rule of thumb is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay properly hydrated. Ideally, you should be drinking your weight in ounces per day to help your body function at its best, as well as remove toxins and process foods. By drinking water before every meal, you will decrease the amount of food you consume at each sitting and thus prevent you from overeating and gaining unwanted weight. Many times when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty, so drink a tall glass of water to see if that curbs your appetite. Above all, listen to your body and give it the proper nutrition it requires, especially water!

Maintain an exercise routine.

The shorter days, cooler weather, and overwhelming to-do list can leave you feeling exhausted with no time to spare. And, more than likely, exercise is the last thing on your mind. However, incorporating a regular exercise routine will help you to stay healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. So, weather permitting, get outside in the fresh air and take a 30-minute walk. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try dancing away the calories at your holiday party, or burning off those extra calories by shoveling your snow by yourself.  The important thing is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise, 4 to 5 times per week, to keep holiday weight gain at bay.

Watch your portion sizes!

Use a smaller plate size to control your portions and to trick your mind into thinking you have a full plate. Often times our hunger pangs are psychological, so if your mind thinks you have a full plate, then you’ll be more satisfied and less likely to reach for more food.  Also, you need to focus on what you’re eating, so don’t eat in front of the television. It’s amazing how much you can eat when you’re not paying attention! And lastly, control your portions and caloric intake by eating lots of veggies and protein at every meal to keep yourself fuller for longer, and avoid drinking high-calorie beverages. Liquid calories can add up fast.

Eat a meal, don’t graze.

When the average person sits down to their holiday meal, they’ve already consumed 90 percent of their daily calorie needs, according to Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating. How can this be? Well, you can blame it on grazing, which is a bad habit of snacking throughout the day without sitting down to an actual meal. To avoid grazing, pick out your favorite appetizers and put them on a small plate, sit down, chew slowly and savor every bite. Don’t spoil your appetite, though; eat just enough to hold you over until the main meal is served.

Beachbody

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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