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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.

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