Holiday weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be up to an average of five pounds (and for some, maybe more).
This might not be the best time to aim for weight loss, since maintaining your weight may be a small victory in itself. However, that doesn’t mean you should just eat what you want and then start fresh in the new year, either.
Here’s five tips to help you keep the extra five pounds off, while still enjoying your holiday:
Tip # 1: Choose your battles wisely.
You may have clients, family, neighbors, or coworkers bringing you treats and goodies at every turn. You may have work events, celebrations, and friends’ parties to attend. You may have goodies that are being prepared and baked that only come around one time per year. You may have traditions that include special foods. The list can go on and on.
Be very, very picky. Prioritize what you love the most and enjoy it. You don’t have to forgo your favorites, but skip your not-so-favorites, so you are limiting the extra calorie impact.
Tip # 2: Savor each bite, eating slowly.
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Lengthen the time it takes to eat the treats, traditional meals, or holiday specialties. Savoring a moderate amount of some of the foods we love can be just as, if not more, satisfying that eating more of the same foods.
Tip # 3: Offer to bring something you can enjoy guilt-free.
This is something I tend to do year-round whenever I attend a party. It allows me to know that there will be something I can fill up on that isn’t calorie-dense, without worrying about the other food offerings. Depending on whether the host wants me to contribute an appetizer, side dish, or dessert, some of my go-to options are: vegetable and hummus platter, a green salad, roasted vegetable side dish, or fruit salad.
Tip # 4: Focus on the holiday experience.
Food is often a central focus of many gatherings, however that is not usually what leaves a lasting impression. Realizing that it is a special time to enjoy our relationships with friends and family, experiencing our traditions or creating new ones, and sharing memories that last a lifetime.
Baking and decorating holiday treats with friends or family is a perfect example. The laughs and memories created during the process will stick with you longer than the taste of a decorated sugar cookie. Focusing on the actual holiday experience may reduce the temptation of over-indulging on the less important food itself.
Tip # 5: Don’t skip your workouts – and add a little extra.
So, whether you indulge more than you should, or keep it within moderation, there’s a good chance you will have extra calories that need to be burned in order to maintain weight. That means you should keep your regular workout schedule, pick up the intensity, and/or put in a little extra time. If you end up skipping or missing a workout, don’t fret. Just get back on track, and pick up where you left off. It’s a slippery slope when you start to slack, and you give yourself the out, “I’ll just wait until the new year to start fresh.” No matter what, there will be an opportunity to improve in the new year, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Something is better than nothing!
If you have additional tips you would like to add, comment below and let me know how you stay fit through the holidays!
Roberts, S. B. (2000). Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction?. Nutrition reviews, 58(12), 378-379.