The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, it can also become a time for overeating and weight gain. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, on average U.S. adults tend to gain more than a pound of body weight during the winter holiday season. Although this might not sound like a significant weight gain, the study showed that those who gain weight over the holidays were not at all likely to shed it the following year. The good news is that those who reported consistent physical activity throughout the holiday season showed the least amount of weight gain. In order to avoid weight gain, this holiday season focus on a healthy balance of food, activities and fun by implementing these few simple tips.
- Set realistic goals. Instead of trying to loose weight during the holidays, try to maintain your current weight. Save the weight loss plan for the New Year.
- Set aside time for exercise. Exercising helps relieve the holiday stress as well as prevent weight gains. Regularly setting aside time for moderate exercise can help offset weight gain from increased holiday eating.
- Before heading to a party, eat a light health snack like raw veggies or a piece of fruit to help curb your appetite. This will help you be less tempted to over-indulge later.
- Before filling your plate, survey the buffet of food being served. Have a reasonable portion of your favorite food but make sure that your plate is well-balanced including fruits and vegetables.
- You can still savor your favorite holiday treats by being conscious of your portion sizes. Rather than eating until you are overly stuffed, eat until you are satisfied.
- Choose your beverages wisely. Over-consuming alcohol can lessen your inhibitions and result in overeating; non-alcoholic beverages tend to be full of empty calories and high in sugar.
- If you overeat during one meal, eat a lighter healthier meal for the next. In order to gain one pound, it takes 500 calories per day above your normal consumption.
- Prepare your own healthy dish to bring to a holiday gathering.
- Be conscious of the appetizers that you are consuming, as many can be high in calories for bite size portions. Fill a small plate of appetizers only once, so you don’t go overboard or spoil your meal.
- Take some focus off holiday foods. Instead of making cookies, plan family or friend activities that aren’t all about food. Use the time for non-edible projects like wreath making or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
Most importantly, enjoy the holidays, set-aside time for activities, try to incorporate healthy recipes into your meals, but don’t deprive yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. After the holidays are over, your body and mind will thank you.