Sneaky Reasons You’re Packing on the Pounds During the Holidays
The dreaded holiday weight gain, many of us have fallen victim to this – but you don’t have to! Read below to learn the sneaky reasons why you are putting on the pounds during the holidays.
You’re drinking your calories
During the holidays there are many indulgent beverages that are high in carbs and calories. Some of the top offenders include egg nog (FYI: Egg Nog typically has about 20 grams of sugar per HALF a cup), seasonal coffee drinks (ex: pumpkin spice latte), and high sugar cocktails.
Fix it: It’s totally fine to have an indulgent beverage every once and a while, but once you start making it an everyday habit, that’s when the pounds can start creeping on. Be mindful of what you are drinking because those liquid calories will add up.
Desserts at the office
A cookie here, a donut there, after a few weeks of indulging on treats at the office you can start to see the pounds creeping on.
Fix it: If you are going to indulge, it should be the best of the best. Also, remember that just because a treat is offered to you, it does not mean you have to eat it.
It is very common to feel stressed during the holidays, whether it be due to family dynamics, buying gifts, traveling, cooking, etc. there are many situations during the holidays that can make you stressed. Not only is stress a terrible feeling, it can also be a factor that causes you to gain weight. Stress often causes individuals to overeat and/or reach for high carb, high calorie foods because eating carbs releases the feel good hormones in your body. Stress also causes the hormone cortisol to increase, and cortisol is a hormone that promotes fat storage.
Fix it: First identify what triggers stress for you and then make a plan of how you can alleviate that stress. Some examples of how you can decrease the stress response may include asking your spouse for help in the kitchen, saying “no” to social engagements that you don’t really want to do, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.
The holiday season is such a busy time that many of us don’t make time for exercise. Exercise is what helps to keep your focus on staying healthy and serves as a reminder to be mindful of your eating. Exercise helps to prevent you from packing on the pounds way beyond just burning calories and revving your metabolism – it also boosts the feel good hormones, suppresses stress hormones, helps to prevent stress eating, boosts energy, and also just serves as a reminder to stay healthy.
Fix it: Make exercise a priority during the holidays. I always recommend doing exercise first thing in the morning because it will give you energy and decrease stress before you start the day.
Skipping meals to “save up” for dinner is NEVER a good idea – it ALWAYS backfires. Why? Because when you skip a meal, not only does that make you ravenously hungry (and hangry!) but also leads to overeating and a slowed metabolism.
Fix it: Aim to eat a mix of protein, fiber, and heart healthy fat at each meal every 3-5 hours. Note that if a meal is not keeping you full for at least 3 hours, you need to eat more.
Holiday parties tend to have lots of desserts and high calorie beverages, which can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet.
Fix it: Make a point to eat BEFORE the party so that you don’t fill up on desserts or other high carb foods. Sip on water at the party and stick to a two drink maximum when it comes to indulgent beverages.
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.