Holiday party season is here, and temptations are all around us! At one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year, how can you maintain your weight and not pack on the pounds? I find that the holidays are a challenging time to maintain my weight and keep my stress levels in check. Do you?
When it comes to holiday weight gain, there’s good news and bad news. WebMD reports that the commonly reported five pounds of holiday weight gain is actually a myth. That’s the good news. The bad? The real holiday weight gain comes after the holidays when people typically lose their holiday weight— except for one tiny pound. These pounds add up over the years. Yikes! Today I’m sharing ten quick and practical tips to help you maintain your weight this holiday season. My sources? Articles I’ve read, experts I’ve talked with, and my own little tricks.
1. Stay on Your Schedule as Much as Possible
There are lots of extra things to do during the holidays, but try to stay faithful to the things that provide the everyday framework for your life. This includes sticking to your regular sleep schedule, workout routine, and meal times.
Water or other decaf drinks will check your cravings. I drink this decaf holiday green tea to put me in the holiday spirit and this one in place of dessert most nights. (I also give them for hostess or friend gifts!) For more on the topic of adequate hydration, see this post.)
3. Snack on Water-Filled Fruits & Veggies
I learned this year when my husband and son did Weight Watchers that fruits and vegetables are worth zero points. That means you can eat all you want! Great water-filled choices include celery, grapefruit, or berries. Even better news? Weight Watchers just released a list that increases the list of zero point foods by more than 200 items! (Read more here.)
4. Build in More Movement
I know you’re in a hurry, but parking in the back of the parking lot and walking won’t really take that much extra time, will it? Skip the elevator and walk up the escalator. Take the slightly longer way to the back of the grocery store to pick up that item you forgot. If you’re traveling for the holidays, check out a pretty park, arboretum or landmark nearby that you could explore.
5. Exercise to Stave Off Stress & Weight Gain
Exercise is the best thing you can do for stress reduction. If you’re trying to maintain your weight, In my recent Facebook Live with author and registered, licensed dietitian Wendy Howard, she suggested adding an extra ten minutes to your daily workouts throughout the holiday season. It’s great for your weight and it’s great for stress busting.
6. Compensate Throughout the Day
Also during our Facebook Live, Wendy suggested eating lighter and healthier than usual throughout the day if you know that you’re going to a party in the evening. It’s a practical way to compensate for extra calories you might eat.
7. Don’t Go Hungry
Heading to a party hungry is a bad idea. Eat something right before you go to stave off those hunger pangs. (Remember what happened the last time you went to the grocery store hungry? Yeah…let’s avoid that.
8. Make a Pre-Party Plan
I try to find out or at least approximate in advance what will be served at an upcoming party. It helps me make a plan before I get face-to-face with temptation. If it’s a dessert party or a cookie swap, I try to eat a nutritious meal I feel good about before going. That way I’m not as tempted to undo my healthy choices when faced with treats.
9. Make it Count
When you hit the party, only let yourself enjoy the treats you really love. Why waste calories on something you don’t feel strongly about? Studies have shown that people often overeat when there are more options available than when options are limited. Don’t rely on others to limit your options. Take back control and do it yourself by only eating the foods you really like.
10. If You Fall, Get Back Up
Overindulge last night? Don’t beat yourself up! Instead, think through why it happened and resolve to do a better job next time. Feed your soul (instead of your mouth!) by spending time thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, checking in with a friend, or catching one of those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies.
You can do it, friends! (I’m right there with you.) Take it one day at a time.
P. S. Congratulations to Chrisy D., who won the Empty Nester Entrepreneur giveaway last week.
P. P. S. Working on getting healthier? I’ve put together a few ideas for holiday gifts below that can help you on your journey.