Ways to avoid holiday weight gain

GEHA | December 14, 2018

nutrition and exercise
Follow these steps to avoid gaining weight this holiday season.

The holidays are a fun time of year. But with the parties, stress and baked goods, it's also a time when we tend to gain weight.

Here are tips to help you avoid weight gain during the holiday season.

  • Be active. Sedentary activities, such as watching sports, are common holiday traditions. Something as simple as a family walk provides benefits and helps keep your mind off food. Studies show that starting your day with at least 15 minutes of exercise results in fewer cravings for high-fat food throughout the day.
  • Get plenty of sleep. People who do not sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity.
  • Control your stress levels. Stress can lead to over eating and craving junk food.
  • Be smart when snacking. Watch the unhealthy snacks like cookies and other sweets. Be mindful of your snacking habits and opt for healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • Watch portion sizes. Eat off smaller plates, read food labels for recommended serving sizes and try to avoid seconds.
  • Keep meals balanced with protein. It’s easy to overeat carbs during the holidays. Be sure to eat protein at every meal to reduce calorie intake.
  • Focus on fiber. Fiber is another important nutrient that can help reduce calorie intake. Incorporate fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds into your meals.
  • Choose desserts wisely. Instead of eating every treat, focus on your favorites. Savor them by eating slowly and mindfully. Practice the three-bite rule to keep your sweet tooth in check. You’ll enjoy that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle one and lingering third bite.
  • Limit liquid calories. Remember that alcohol, soda and other sweetened beverages contain sugar and empty calories.
  • Avoid processed foods. Convenience foods, such as fast-food and boxed or prepackaged foods, contain excess sugar and unhealthy fats. Opt for whole foods and meals made from scratch instead of a box. (Department of Agriculture)
  • Don’t bank calories. Don’t cut back all day so you can indulge at an evening event. Eat three meals and a couple of snacks during the day to avoid over eating.
  • Avoid morning-after food. If you’re hosting a party, send your guests home with leftovers.
  • Weigh yourself regularly. Studies show that stepping on the scales twice a week helps you manage your weight more effectively.

Sources:
“20 tips to avoid weight gain during the holidays.” Healthline Media, 2017
“15 ways to avoid holiday weight gain.” Meredith Health Group, 2017