According to the New England Journal of Medicine (study conducted August 2012 through a July 2013), the average holiday weight gain was between 1-2 pounds and occurred mostly from Thanksgiving until the week after Christmas in the U.S. The study was conducted during the major holidays in Japan, the U.S. and Germany. Of the participants in this study, only half of them were motivated enough to lose the weight as the year went on. Holiday weight gain is a real thing and in this post you will find tips to reduce the scales from going up this year.
How to Fight Holiday Weight Gain
I don’t know about you, but I have certainly gained more than 1-2 pounds during the holiday season and each year it gets harder to lose the weight from too much holiday cheer. 1-2 pounds doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but if you are getting to the 5-10 pound range, it can become a little more frustrating.
There are ways to avoid holiday weight gain and still enjoy the great holiday food.
Avoid too many sweets
Yes I know that the holidays are a prime time to dig into the sweets, but pace yourself. You don’t have to eat every Christmas cookie in sight. You can always freeze some of the sweet goodies to enjoy later in the year if you like. You can also make less cookies or share your cookies among friends so they aren’t as readily available. Sugar is one of the fastest ways to add weight. Be very aware of how many sweet treats you consume this year and that will be a great start to avoiding weight gain this year.
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Pick your battles
The holidays are also known for higher fat foods- meats, breads, carbohydrates dowsed in butter. I know all the good stuff. It really helps if you can pick and choose what you really love to eat. For example, if carbs are your thing (you love the mashed potatoes), consider skipping the cookies after the meal and indulge in those on another day.
Limit the alcohol
I know…. I know… I know. I get it. You like to drink it up for the holidays. Keep in mind that when you drink alcohol, you are adding calories to your meal. Consider one glass of wine which would be around 120 calories (roughly) versus a sugary holiday drink like Egg Nog. Or, if you are a Nog lover, substitute out the cookies that day. It is all about give and take to avoid holiday weight gain. You don’t have to give up the stuff you love. You can certainly enjoy all the holiday goodness, but make sure you are aware of the extra calories that can be consumed very quickly.
Hit the gym
You can certainly make up for the added calories by getting in some extra gym time. Still be very aware of your food choices, but if you are getting in some extra sweat sessions, this will help you fight the holiday bulge.
Avoid the candy
I know it is tempting to have holiday candy lying around. It adds a nice little touch to the center piece or to the glass dish on the coffee table. You can totally swap out the candy with ornaments or do another cute DIY project to display instead of having the candy around.
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I know this probably sounds silly, but put yourself in a pair of jeans during the holiday season. No leggings, stretchy pants, sweat pants or elastic waist bands. Your pants can help you stay accountable and avoid holiday weight gain. Who likes a muffin top?
Create a game plan ahead of time
I love this one. Go into the holidays with a plan in your head. A plan that you can live with and still get the most out of the holiday food. Make intentional choices regarding the food that you most like to enjoy during the holidays. When we make those intentional choices and goals ahead of time, we are more likely to stick to them. Create a game plan baby!
Bring healthy alternatives
You can be the person in the group that brings the veggie tray or fruit tray. You can be the trendsetter for healthy eating in your family or group. You don’t have to fill up on heavy food if you don’t want to.
Think about your goals for the New Year
What goals have you set so far? Do they include taking off extra pounds for the holidays? If not, really consider how you can factor in healthy eating into the holidays this year. If you don’t want to start off the New Year behind the 8 ball as they say, be proactive this year and prevent the holiday weight gain before it even starts.
I know it is pretty customary to just let loose and eat until your heart desires, but if you are really looking to reduce the holiday weight gain, follow the tips above to really keep the scales down. It is possible to enjoy the holiday food without going overboard and having to worry about losing the weight later:)
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