by Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie, Certified Physical Trainer, CPT, Certified Corporate Wellness Coach, WickedFiTT
Please bring me a big fat bank account and a slim waist. Please don’t mix them up like you did last year…
It’s that time of year. The parties, the baking, the candy, the eggnog, the, well, you get my point. Avoiding holiday weight gain may sound as likely as Santa fitting down millions of chimneys on Christmas Eve, but honestly, there are pretty doable strategies to help us all stay on track.
Many of us expect to experience weight gain during these festive winter months, but packing on those pounds in December is far from inevitable. Studies have shown that the typical American may gain 5 to 10 pounds over the holiday season.
Don’t get me wrong: The holiday season is all about celebrating, family, friends and indulging — in moderation. So pass the eggnog and let’s tackle navigating holiday food, hectic schedules and even sidelined gym routines.
By taking control of your holiday eating, and fitting in a little extra movement when you can, you are more likely to keep those extra pounds away.
1. BE REALISTIC
Write down your goals — keep them specific and attainable — and post them somewhere highly visible, like the refrigerator door. If your goal is “stick to two cookies at every holiday party,” seeing it periodically may help you commit.
2. STAY POSITIVE
Many of us demonize certain foods and even punish ourselves every time we indulge. Instead, positive messages like “I can control my eating” or “I’m proud that I ate responsibly today” can reframe our relationship with food.
3. IT’S OK TO SAY NO
Pressure from the hostess to eat more is a common issue faced during the holiday season. A great idea is to use the small plates. This means you can avoid offending the hostess, and you take in much smaller portions.
4. DRINK WATER
During the craziness of the holiday season, it is easy to forget to drink water. Make it your goal to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Your body can easily confuse being thirsty with being hungry so drinking water will keep you from eating when your body was actually thirsty.
5. SLOW DOWN
Eating slowly may not be easy when appetizer options are endless, but it pays off to pace yourself. The quicker we eat the less time the body has to register fullness.
6. BEWARE OF TOO MUCH BOOZE
Drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions, which may cause you to overeat. Limit your drinks and sip slowly during an event or gathering. If possible, choose an alcohol beverage low in sugar to avoid additional calories.
7. MOVE IT TO LOSE IT
Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind during the holiday season, but it is a must if you are to keep your weight in check. Just stay active.
8. GET THOSE ZZZs
Getting enough sleep has also been associated with less weight gain. Practice good sleep hygiene like turning off electronics in the bedroom, including the TV.
9. LET THE GUILT GO
Most of us are going to overdo it at one point or another during the holidays. The important thing is to not let the guilt spiral us into a cycle of overeating. Remember to forgive yourself. The holidays are a challenging time, and expecting perfection is just going to backfire.
10. ENJOY YOURSELF
Seriously, the holidays are only here once a year and are supposed to be fun, remember? There are plenty of things to get stressed out about other than your weight. Take a deep breath and enjoy the season.