How to Keep the Holiday Weight Gain Down This Year?| December 02, 2021
It's the holidays, a time when families and friends get together to enjoy one another's company and eat. There are extra calories everywhere at this time of year - from frosted cookies at the office to eggnog at your neighbors to jelly doughnuts the day before Hanukkah and chocolates in your stocking. With all these extras, you're likely to gain a pound or two by New Year's Day.
If you gain just a pound over the holidays, then what's the harm? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, many Americans never lose the weight they gain over the winter holidays. Holiday weight gain contributes significantly to adult obesity because it adds up year after year.
It might interest you to learn that there are ways to avoid falling into this trap. According to a study, it's possible to eat holiday treats without gaining any weight1. A pound of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so here are a few expert-backed tips to avoid holiday weight gain.
Be Mindful While Eating
When people are in a hurry during the holidays, they frequently multitask while eating. Studies show people who are distracted while eating tends to overeat. This is because they fail to pay attention to their bodies' signals of fullness2.
You can prevent this by eating mindfully and minimizing distractions, such as work and electronics. By chewing slowly and thoroughly, you will be able to understand your body's fullness signals and take in fewer calories.
Before you begin eating, you can also try taking a few deep breaths. Relaxing like this can help you keep your focus on your plate instead of your to-do list. Mindful eating has been shown to lead to a decreased risk of weight gain in several studies3.
Portion Control Is Important
With the holidays approaching, it is easy to put too much on your plate. Those who eat more portion sizes tend to gain weight more quickly than those who don't.
Controlling portion sizes or using smaller plates is the best way to overcome this problem4. Read the food labels and the serving sizes specified on recipes in order to determine appropriate portion sizes. In case you can't do either of those things, use your best judgment to fill a plate with an appropriate amount of food.
Choose A Smaller Plate
During the holiday season, many people host dinner parties and potlucks. If you use a smaller plate, you can still enjoy these celebrations without wrecking your diet. Usually, people eat larger portions on big plates, which can lead to overeating5.
As a result, a smaller plate makes portion control easy.
Make Changes to Your Recipes
Weight gain during the holiday season is primarily caused by high-calorie homemade goods. You can reduce the calories in recipes in several ways. Here are some suggestions:
- Instead of frying, try baking, steaming, or grilling.
- In place of heavy cream, use low-fat or skim milk.
- Substitute Greek yogurt for cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.
- In place of butter, use herbs and spices to flavor dishes.
- Use sugar substitutes like stevia, erythritol, or xylitol instead of sugar.
- Replace chocolate chips and candies with dried fruit.
- You can substitute applesauce, mashed bananas, or pumpkin puree for butter.
- Replace sweetened beverages with club soda or sparkling water.
- Instead of butter and sugar, flavor your treats with extracts like vanilla, almond, or peppermint.
- Add fresh lime or lemon juice rather than sugar to drinks.
- Adding cinnamon to holiday beverages can also enhance their flavor.
- If you are making dairy-based drinks, you can substitute low-fat or skim milk for heavy cream.
During the holiday season, a lot of time is spent cooking and baking. As a result, weight gain can occur since you can taste-test your meals easily. Small portions of holiday dishes can pile up in calories.
Especially if you are making food for others, tasting your dish is important, but a tiny bit should be enough. Further, it's important not to get hungry while you're cooking since it's much easier to overdo taste-testing with a growling stomach.
Keep Moving and Stay Active
Many families engage in sedentary activities over the holidays, such as watching TV on the couch. Inactivity may cause weight gain, especially when coupled with overeating6.
Maintaining a healthy weight may be easier if you participate in some physical activity with your family. It is as simple as a family walk to take your mind off food and build a sense of family unity. Participating in a workplace or community fitness event is another way to stay active during the holidays. Racing is a popular option.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
With the holiday demands, staying on top of everything can be a challenge. Cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, is often high in individuals who are stressed7. As high cortisol levels are linked to higher food intake, they may cause weight gain over time. In addition, a stressful lifestyle may lead to a greater desire for junk food8.
When you're likely to be busy and surrounded by unhealthy foods during the holidays, it's imperative to keep your stress levels under control. You can reduce your stress levels in several ways. These include exercising, meditating, practicing yoga, and breathing deeply. You may want to try Doc Harmony's Stress Relief Gift Kits. All the products are prepared using natural ingredients and can help you relax during this year's holidays.
Regularly Weigh Yourself
You will be able to take action before significant weight gain sets in if you regularly step on the scale during the holidays to remind yourself of your weight goals. Regularly weighing yourself can help you maintain your ideal weight or lose weight faster than not weighing yourself9.
Create a routine that suits your needs. Some people find it beneficial to check their weight on a daily basis, whereas others prefer to check it once or twice a week.
Make Sure to Plan Ahead
You can prevent holiday weight gain by planning ahead. You can bring your own dish or ask what will be served at parties you're attending. Decide what you will eat and how much you will eat ahead of time. You may also want to compile a list of healthy holiday recipes so that you have plenty of choices when you need to make a dish for a party.
Make Smart Snack Choices
The holidays are a time when you're more likely to encounter unhealthy snacks like cookies and other delicious goodies. If you're able to get treats easier, the more likely you are to snack unnecessarily10.
You can solve this issue at home by putting treats out of sight. This strategy is harder to avoid in situations where you have no control, such as at work or a family gathering. Try to minimize snacking in those situations. Instead of munching just because there are foods around and not because you're hungry, you should avoid snacking altogether.
When you're hungry, however, opt for a snack made from real foods. Snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are filling and free of added sugar and unhealthy fats.
Eat Protein-Rich Meals
Meals during the holidays are typically high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Nonetheless, it is important to consume some protein with each meal, as it increases satiety and helps you maintain your weight. Consuming protein with meals can actually reduce calorie intake by decreasing hunger and appetite11.
Furthermore, protein boosts your metabolism and reduces your appetite because it increases your levels of appetite-suppressing hormones12. It is suggested that you consume at least 1 ounce of protein (25-30 grams) in each meal to reap these weight-management benefits. In addition to meat, poultry, and fish, there are some plant foods like beans and quinoa that are good sources of protein.
Take Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber is another nutrient that promotes a feeling of fullness. According to some studies, increasing dietary fiber may reduce total caloric intake and assist in preventing holiday weight gain13.
There is a lack of fiber in many common holiday foods, unfortunately. Try to eat fiber-rich foods, including nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes, grains, and vegetables.
Eat Less Processed Food
More processed foods are available for the holidays now than ever before, including mashed potatoes and stuffing. Although these foods are convenient and quick to prepare, they are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
Make sure you eat whole foods and prepare your meals from scratch if you want to prevent weight gain. Thus, you can keep track of your weight and diet.
Limit Your Dessert Consumption
The holiday season is filled with desserts. Excessive sugar consumption is often the result, which is a common cause of weight gain14.
Focus on your favorites instead of indulging in every treat you see. In addition to taking time to enjoy desserts when you do indulge, eating them slowly can also make you feel more satisfied and stop you from overindulging.
Reduce Liquid Calorie Intake
It is common during the holidays to consume soda, alcohol, and other calorie-rich drinks. Adding these drinks to your diet can result in weight gain because of the added sugar and empty calories. In addition, alcohol consumption is often associated with increased appetite and weight gain15.
You should limit the consumption of high-calorie beverages if you want to control your weight.
Set A Line
People during the holidays typically have an "I'll start tomorrow" mentality, which can prolong unhealthy habits. Setting limits for yourself and sticking to your food goals may be helpful if you are serious about losing weight.
There's nothing wrong with saying no to certain foods and habits that aren't aligned with your goal. Keeping in mind that you will likely make a mistake or two is also important. After making a mistake, people often give up. However, you should move on and choose a healthier option next time.
Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
Weight gain can be caused by sleep deprivation during the holidays, which is quite common. Lack of sleep leads to being hungrier, eating more calories, and exercising less. Sleep deprivation increases appetite hormones, ultimately resulting in greater calorie consumption.
A lack of sleep has also been associated with a slower metabolism. This may be caused by changes in your circadian rhythm, which is a biological clock that controls many of your body's functions16. Therefore, try to take 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep this year's holidays. You can use Bodytox Lavender Sleep Patches for a better sleep schedule.
The Bottom Line
Even though staying on top of your weight goals can seem overwhelming during the holiday season, there are some tips and tricks you can employ to stay happy, healthy, and weight conscious. Additionally, it's essential to make sure you get plenty of exercises and limit your intake of holiday treats. During this season of celebration, you may even find that you've prevented weight gain as well as lost weight if you're diligent.
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