11 Tips For Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
It’s that time of year again! Seriously, where does the time go? November is here and thus begins the crazy cycle of the big 3 holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas (whether you celebrate or not it’s a big time of year) and New Year’s. With this busy time of year, people often complain of weight gain. Many of you have worked hard this year to get those unwanted pounds off so we don’t want to let this crazy time of year be our downfall. Check out my 11 tips to help you avoid the holiday pudge this season.
Make Time for Sleep
Sleep is my number 1 suggestion because without proper rest, anything else you try to do is going to fail. Not getting enough sleep will cause your leptin (satiety hormone) to fall and your ghrelin (hungry hormone) to rise making it almost impossible to make good choices throughout your day. In addition, you don’t want to get run down and sick during this busy time of year. So each night make sure to plan for some time to wind down and relax so you can get a good night’s sleep and set yourself up for success.
Plan Workouts in Advance
Most people use some kind of calendar for their work or appointments throughout the week. What I always tell my clients is to use your calendar to plan your workouts and make them a priority the same way you would for a meeting or lunch out with friends. When you look at your week in advance, take the time to fill in time slots for some cardio and weight training activities. Since you are busy it’s fine to cut the workouts short and maybe do less but make sure you at least get your body moving and keep up your regular routine as much as possible. Try doing shorter workouts but make them more intense to get more out of your time. Also, think about walking or jogging while you are waiting for your daughter or son’s sport practice. Plan and make it a priority – you will be glad you did come New Year’s Day!
Be Smart With Alcohol
Alcohol will be put in front of you more during these next 2 months than the whole year combined. Holiday parties, work lunches and celebrations with family and friends make it really tough to avoid drinking. Allow yourself a few cocktails but set some limits and save them for your special occasions. You might choose to eliminate all alcohol during the week or perhaps just allow yourself a certain number of drinks per week. Choose carefully so that you are not loading up on sugary, high calorie drinks. Check out my blog on How to Keep Holiday Cocktails off Your Waistline for your best choices.
Look at the Buffet Before Making a Plate
Many functions will offer a buffet of wonderful choices. Before you make your plate, take a walk through the line and just look at everything. You would be surprised at how much less you take when you realize some of your favorites are at the end of the line. Also try taking a smaller plate so that you don’t overload it with too many items. Buffet’s can actually be healthy and a good way to control your intake if you are smart and plan in advance.
Bring A Healthy Dish
This one is easy. Go through my recipes and find a healthy dish to take with you. This way you are assured that at least one item is something you can safely eat without ruining your healthy lifestyle plan. I very often bring my Cauliflower Hummus with me and serve it with loads of vegetables and some gluten free crackers. This dish has been a hit at so many functions and I promise you everyone will love it.
Plan for Cheat Meals
It’s a good idea to have cheat meals – your metabolism will get a little boost and it keeps you from feeling deprived and binging. But everyday can’t be a cheat meal or let’s face it, your pants just aren’t going to fit! Take a look at your calendar for the week and plan when you will cheat. If you have several functions decide which ones you really want to indulge in and which ones would be easy to just eat light and skip the drinks. If you are going to be at a restaurant take a look at the menu ahead of time and have a plan to stay on track. You would be surprised at how easy it is to eat clean when you have a plan.
During busy times people tend to let accountability slip. Whether it’s being accountable to your food intake, weight or your trainer, make sure you stay honest. Log your food even when you cheat or have several glasses of wine. When you “see” it logged it helps to put the brakes on the next food binge. Get on the scale at your usual time whether it’s once a week or once a day. If you see it creeping up it’s a red flag to get in control but when you ignore it you might have an unwelcome surprise come New Year’s day. Last, if you have a trainer don’t skip your workouts. If you have a conflict reschedule in advance to make sure you still get a workout in especially during this heavy food time of year!
Take a Walk After Meals
Walking after meals can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar. In my household we always take walks after holiday meals but walking after any meal can help burn off a few extra calories as well as keep you healthy. If you own a Fitbit or some type of step counter, challenge yourself to take some extra steps these next few months. Adding steps can balance out some of those holiday treats. Check out some of my favorite Fitness Trackers.
Focus On Fiber
Fill your plate with high fiber foods. Fiber fills us up without adding a ton of calories. So enjoy the hummus but grab vegetables instead of crackers and chips. Choose more salads, vegetables and fruits when filling your plate and limit the grains, sweets and fatty foods. You will find yourself satisfied without feeling deprived. People who eat high fiber diets actually can eat more quantity of food and feel full sooner. I’d rather have a large salad and some roasted vegetables and save room for a little dessert than waste it on boring white bread or rice.
Choose A Small Plate
When you have the choice of several size plates, choose small so you can’t overload it. This is another buffet line trick to keeping it healthy. Since eating out usually means much richer foods, this helps to control portions so you can’t go too out of control. The eye is also tricked with a smaller plate and you will find that you are satisfied with much less food and can avoid those extra holiday pounds.
Keep Meal Prep Simple
I like to keep meal prep simple all year round but especially at this time of year. With our weekends and evenings being taken up with shopping and parties, we definitely don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Try planning for a few weeks to do 1-2 slow cooker dishes a week. Some of my recipes like my Lemon Chicken in the Slow Cooker will take no time at all to prepare but can be served in a few ways during the week. Other easy meal ideas would be omelets, throwing something on the grill and doing some frozen organic vegetables on the side or even canned Wild Alaskan Salmon salad served in a healthy wrap. If you are really struggling for time, consider a healthy meal service such as Eat the 80. Several of my clients use this service all year round because they deliver organic, healthy meals to your door and all you have to do is heat them when ready to use. Eat the 80 is now offering delivery all over the US and you can use code bodydesigns for 20% off your first order.
This year try to incorporate some or all of these tips to stay on track and avoid holiday weight gain. Your body will love you and you won’t be depressed come January 1st because your clothes don’t fit!