10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain without Giving Up Your Favourite Treats
The holiday season is a time for joy, cheer, and food—a great deal of food. It’s incredibly challenging to avoid holiday weight gain when you’re constantly tempted by roast turkey, Christmas cake, gingerbread cookies, eggnog and other foods synonymous with the holidays.
It’s the most common time of the year for people to abandon their healthy eating plans and indulge in decadent treats. Even if you have unparalleled willpower, it’s all too easy to slip up and let your healthy eating plans hibernate until the day after New Year’s Day.
Sadly, those extra pounds aren’t going away when the holidays come to an end, and losing them isn’t going to be an easy feat. So why not celebrate the holidays in a smart way so you can avoid weight gain without swearing off your favourite treats?
Avoid Holiday Weight Gain with Simple Tips and Tricks
It’s not as hard as you think—we mean it. With some tips and tricks you can eat your favourite foods in moderation while staying true to your healthy eating plans. You don’t have to pass on parties altogether, but you need to be conscious of what you’re eating and how you can make healthy choices without putting a damper on your celebrations.
Here’s a list of tips you should follow to avoid holiday weight gain.
1. Start your day with a workout.
A solid workout in the morning helps you stay on track for the rest of the day. Research shows exercising in the morning ensures that you’ll eat healthy throughout the day. If you put in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise in the morning you’ll be less likely to eat unhealthy foods that would waste your effort at the gym.
2. Weigh yourself every week.
Weighing yourself twice a week is enough to make sure you’re still on track. Any more and you’ll take all the fun out of the celebration. Don’t obsess over minor changes on the scale, though—your weight can fluctuate a bit due to a number of factors. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before breakfast. If you notice the digits go up, get on the treadmill and try to be more mindful of what you’re eating.
3. Never arrive hungry.
This is another great tip to avoid overeating at a party. Always eat a healthy snack before you head out. If you’re ravenous you’ll reach for whatever you can and by the end of the night your calorie intake will go through the roof. Eating something before will make it easier for you to resist temptation. Have a high-fibre snack like oats, baked beans, apples or berries at least 30 minutes before you get to the party. You should also drink water to fill up so you don’t pile a lot of food onto your plate.
4. Bring your own.
Bringing your own food to a party is a great way of controlling what you eat. Instead of trying to figure out what your host will be serving and whether your healthy eating plan allows it, bring a healthy snack, side dish or dessert with you. This way you won’t have to choose between eating an unhealthy meal or staying hungry all evening. You can sample the fare your host has arranged, but you’ll also have a healthy option to fall back on.
5. Make healthy food choices.
Calories add up, so at a party with a wide variety of foods, you’re better off sticking to the lower-calorie offerings. For instance, grilled shrimp is healthier than pigs in blankets. Crudités are a great choice as well. Choose vegetables over mashed potatoes, white meat over dark, pumpkin pie over Christmas cake. Healthy swaps can help you control your calorie intake, but still allow you to enjoy delicious foods.
6. Beware of booze.
Who doesn’t love a drink at a party? It’s normal to indulge in alcoholic beverages during the holidays, but you should be mindful of what and how much you drink. Alcohol is packed with sugar and empty calories, and has very little to offer in terms of nutrition. Research shows it can also increase appetite, causing you to overeat.
Choose your liquor wisely. A cup of eggnog, for instance, has more calories and fat than a pint of beer or a glass of wine. Clear alcohols like vodka and gin have fewer calories than darker drinks like whiskey and rum. Start the evening with a glass of sparking water before you switch to booze. You should also alternate alcoholic beverages with water throughout the evening.
7. Wait before grabbing seconds.
To reduce your food intake, eat slowly and mindfully. Research shows that it takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal that you’re full. If you eat quickly, it doesn’t have enough time to register fullness, leading you to eat a lot more than you need. Take a break after your first helping. Go for a short walk or chat with a friend. If you still feel really hungry after 20 minutes, grab a small serving of food to satisfy your appetite.
8. Just say no.
It’s hard to refuse delicious food, especially if it’s offered to you multiple times. But you need to be disciplined if you want to avoid binge-watching during the holidays. You may find yourself accepting more helpings out of politeness, even if you’re stuffed. If you’re feeling full but your host is trying to get you to take second helpings, it’s OK to decline. Just be polite and let them know you’ve had enough—a compliment might help too!
9. Get moving.
Food isn’t the problem, a lack of exercise is. Essentially, weight gain is attributed to taking in more calories than those burned. Try to workout more during the holidays than you usually would. Try different activities like yoga, swimming, kickboxing—whatever works for you. Mixing up your workout will prevent you from getting bored and make you look forward to working out at least four times a week.
10. Freeze the leftovers.
It’s likely you’ll end up with a lot of leftovers after a party. Instead of storing them in your fridge, pack them up and freeze them. If food is in sight or easily accessible, you’ll probably consume it all in a short span of time. Freezing leftovers for a late date will help you pace yourself, allowing you to consume the food over several days.
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