The holidays are definitely a time to indulge and treat yourself with family and friends. That being said, no one wants to indulge and then pack on the pounds in the process.
Read below to learn the top 10 ways you can prevent holiday weight gain:
1. Don’t snack
Little bites of this and that during the holidays can lead to weight gain because you don’t realize how much you are actually snacking. Having just a bite of cupcake, donut, muffin, cookie, etc (you get the idea) can actually lead to a high intake of sugar and calories (aka empty calories) without you even realizing.
Fix it: Aim to eat a large meal every 3-5 hours during the day. If you feel the need to snack, increase the protein and vegetable content of your previous meal.
2. Choose one treat
Whether that treat be a glass of wine, a mug of egg nog, a cookie, choose one and no more. This way you are still allowing yourself to enjoy the treats of the holiday season, but in moderation and in a more mindful way.
3. Don’t skip meals
It might seem like a good idea to skip a meal or two to “save” up on calories for a big meal you have ahead. Don’t do it! This never works out well for a few reasons. Number one is that it can make you so hungry that you end up eating WAY more of the indulgent meal than you would have otherwise – i.e. one piece of cake turns into two pieces or more.
4. Walk after eating
Moving your body after eating will help your body use some of those calories for energy and will help to prevent those calories from being stored as fat. It will also help digestion of the meal and lower your blood sugar naturally.
Lack of sleep can cause you to crave and reach for foods high in sugar because sugar gives you a quick energy boost and also releases feel good hormones in your body.
Fix it: Aim to get around 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about being present, embracing the moment, and not worrying about all of the things on the to-do list. Being more mindful with your eating means you will not be snacking mindlessly and you will enjoy your meals more too.
7. Don’t stress
Stress can cause you to overeat and overeat carb rich foods because carbs makes you feel better.
Fix it: Exercise daily, practice mindfulness, and don’t put things off until the last minute are some ways to prevent stress from building up.
8. Drink a glass of water before every meal
Water takes up room in your stomach and makes you more full. Another reason to fill up on water is that sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger, meaning you think you are hungry when actually you just need a glass of water.
9. Fill up on vegetables and protein
Fiber and protein are the dream team because both take a long time to digest and act together to keep you fuller longer. Fill up the majority of your plate with vegetables and protein to prevent yourself from overeating on the sugar and carbs.
10. Exercise daily
Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent weight gain during the holidays because it decreases stress, increases feel good hormones, boosts energy, burns calories and revs metabolism.
Bonus tip: Keep in mind that exercise should never be seen as a punishment for over indulging. Stick to exercise that you enjoy and think of it as a mood and energy booster rather than seeing it as just a way to burn calories.
Use one or more of the above tips to prevent the pounds from creeping on during the holidays.
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.