I read somewhere that it takes the average person three months to lose the weight they gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Three months!! But it’s true it’s too easy to let our standards fall, make excuses to avoid working out, and maybe even pull out our ‘fat clothes’ because they feel better – Eek! I believe that balance is the key to living a healthy & happy life but right now, you’re on a slippery slope! It can be all too easy to let your real goals go in favor of a short-term indulgence.
10 Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight at Christmas
1. Travel smart. Many people find themselves traveling during the holiday season, but that’s not an excuse to eat unhealthily and avoid exercise. Plan your meals in advance, and pack snacks when you are either on the road or in the air. Good travel snacks can include nuts or dried fruit. Pack your favorite workout DVD and a portable DVD player or use a fitness app while you are on the road. A short exercise sesh is better than no exercise sesh. To help you be a happier traveler, get a good night sleep before you leave to increase your mood and alertness. Eating a heavy meal before traveling can make you sleepy, so eat a small, low-fat meal before you head out the door.
2. ZZZZZZZ. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and get a full night’s rest as often as you can. If you fail to get a good night sleep, it can affect your immune system and make you grumpy the next day. No one wants to travel with a grouchy person, so do everyone a favor and get some shut eye. Sleeping well can also help you reduce your calorie consumption, because it inhibits the release of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin while promoting the release of leptin, another hormone that limits hunger. And keeping that hunger in check is a good idea when you find yourself surrounded by holiday goodies.
3. Hydration station. Staying hydrated is important in our daily life and becomes even more important when you’re stressed, as can so often happen during the busy holiday season. Stress can have a negative effect on your immune system. Drinking plenty of water can help by flushing toxins out of your body. For that very reason, choosing water instead of holiday beverages like eggnog and hot spiced cider is especially important, even though it can be challenging.
4. Caution with cocktails. With the holidays comes the drinking of alcohol, so make sure you have at least one glass of water in between each drink. Remember that one gram of alcohol contains seven calories, and yet it yields virtually no energy or health benefits. Calories from alcohol can add up quickly, so be mindful of how much you are drinking. If you do indulge in eggnog, which is super-high in calories in its traditional form, try making it with fat-free half-and-half substitute mixed with fat-free milk, and ditch the egg yolks for egg whites. Also, drinking may reduce inhibitions under the mistletoe, which is good, but it also reduces inhibition at the dessert buffet, which is bad.
5. Fighting temptation. The holidays are filled with temptation, and it’s your job to stop it in its tracks. Holiday parties can be troublesome with the surplus of fatty foods and beverages. You might be unaware of how much you are consuming and might eat because it is there, rather than eating because you are actually hungry. Eat a healthy meal before you go out, so you’re less tempted to munch on empty calories. Be aware of what you are putting into your body, whether it’s cocktails or shrimp cocktails. The office can also be a place where temptation lurks. Try to avoid going into the break room and grabbing those cakes, cookies, and other holiday dishes and treats people leave lying around at this time of year. Be the first in your office to bring in a fruit or veggie platter or other healthy choice to share. And if you are having a chocolate craving that just won’t go away, throw a banana in the blender with some Chocolate Shakeology®, nonfat milk, and ice, and you’ll be back on track.
I decided to split this post up because it was WAY too long! Check back tomorrow for 5 MORE tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain!