The holidays are a wonderful time for friends and family, giving and gratitude. The whole world seems to be a happier, more welcoming place over the holidays. There is, however, at least one potential downside: weight gain. Packing on a few pounds over Thanksgiving and Christmas is not, for some of us, the end of the world. We can worry about it in January, we think to ourselves. But there are others, those who are seriously committed to their diets who are afraid to fall off-track during the holiday season. This article is for them. It’s a guide to how to keep the weight off over the holidays.
Holiday Weight Gain
Americans, on average, gain between five to ten pounds over the holidays. Okay, so how do you avoid it?
Unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be much more accessible than normal over the holidays. When treats are easy to access, unnecessary snacking or grazing is more likely to occur.
At home, this problem can be solved by keeping treats out of sight. However, that strategy is more difficult to avoid in situations that you cannot control, such as your workplace or a family dinner party.
You can overcome these situations by being mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself snacking just because there's food available — and not because you're hungry — then it's best to avoid snacking altogether. It can be a bit rude or, at least, ruffle some feathers if you refuse to eat almost everything that’s served to you at meals. So, the smart thing to do, if you’re going to have some dessert, is to only have it when everyone is actually sitting down and eating dessert together. Try to avoid constantly grazing pre and post dessert time.
Eat A Lot Of Turkey
Meat is your friend on Thanksgiving, so eat it like there’s no tomorrow. The more protein and healthy fats you have, the less room you’ll have for unhealthy sides like biscuits, stuffing, and so on.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is quite common during the holidays, and it may cause weight gain. This is because those who do not sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity. The reason behind this is that sleep restriction may increase your hunger hormone levels, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake.
Save The Unhealthy Stuff For Last
Unfortunately, things like rolls and stuffing are calorie dense but volume light, meaning you could eat ten rolls and not feel any less hungry. If you have a problem with overeating bad foods and stopping yourself after just one, save it till the end.
Practice The 80/20 Rule
You should try and eat as best and healthily as you can during the week days (80) and then simply eat what’s available over the weekends (20). That doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to eat unhealthily over the weekends, and it also doesn’t mean that you should beat yourself up or consider it cheating when you enjoy some weekend wings, pizza, and the like. Eating some pleasurable foods here and there can be good for your psychological health which will, in turn, positively impact your more apparent physical health.
You can eat good and enjoy yourself over the holidays without putting on tons of weight. Make sure to mind the tips outlines in this article and you’ll be sure to keep the weight off.