The holidays are upon us, and before you know it, the food feasting and mindless eating days of the season, will be upon us. Celebrations like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Some research studies estimate that some Americans gain anywhere from 5-7 extra pounds over the holidays. The question then becomes, “What can I do to protect my weight loss (or avoid weight gain) over the Holidays?”
Read on for some tips….
To answer this question, we should remember that our goal over the holidays shouldn’t be focused on losing weight, but rather, on maintaining our current weight and protecting the weight loss that we attained thus far.
Enjoy the holidays without adding the extra stress of losing weight to this already stressful period. If you are currently involved in a weight loss (weight management) protocol, you deserve the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season as much as those who are not dealing with weight problems. However, we must do so while protecting the weight loss progress that we have achieved.
Think about past holidays. What was your toughest challenge (about staying on track)? Once you identify what that challenge was, you should create a plan to address that challenge. For example, for some of us, these challenges include: not continuing to exercise, too many cakes, cookies and pies, lack of portion control, family and friends that you can’t say “No” to; and excessive calories from beverages such as alcohol, eggnog and sweet apple cider.
- Exercise: Schedule your exercise time more carefully and stick with it. In fact, many people who get extra time off during the holidays can improve their focus on an exercise program during this period by PLANNING more effectively.
- Desserts: When it comes to cakes, cookies, pies and desserts in general, denying yourself desserts may not always work. But eating the whole cake doesn’t necessarily make the first piece taste any better. So pace yourself and plan for a “limited number of bite sizes” ahead of time and remember your “teaspoons of sugar” guidelines. For some who typically skip desserts all together. You may want to wear a reminder (like a wrist band) that reminds you not to indulge in sweet treats or desserts.
- Portion control: This is crucial and appetite control medications can help with this. Eat slowly and enjoy your food; savor the flavor and don’t watch TV or talk on the phone while you eat. Enjoy the holiday tradition, but this year, embark on a new tradition of planning your meals, eating mindfully and being accountable.
- Family and Friends you can’t say “No” to: This is a big one! While some friends and family members may unknowingly be sabotaging your weight loss, letting them know ahead of time not to push you into “trying” a new pie recipe or the “best cookie” ever, will help you stay focused without the pressure.
- Alcohol Beverages: Avoid alcoholic beverages as much as possible. If you do drink alcohol, plan to alternate each serving of alcohol with a glass of water while limiting your total alcohol consumption.
These minor adjustments to your holiday merry-making, should go a long way towards helping you avoid the typical holiday weight gain that most of us experience. You can do it!