Weight Loss for Real Life: The Holiday Edition is all about enjoying the holiday season without the weight gain.
With the holiday season comes lots of holiday gatherings and parties, which inevitably involve indulgent food, booze, and sugary treats. Many people who are trying to lose weight struggle to stay on track during the holiday season, but don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with another installment of my weight loss tips for real life series, this time with the holiday edition.
First, it’s important to be realistic about the situation. Studies show that the average holiday weight gain is about 1 to 2 pounds – hardly enough to freak out about, so don’t psych yourself out. In my professional opinion, the best approach is to avoid gaining weight during the holiday season instead of trying to lose weight. Taking the pressure off of yourself will help you to relax and enjoy the holiday season without being too preoccupied. That’s no reason to let yourself go completely crazy, though. Here are my top tips for staying sane while keeping the extra weight off this holiday season.
- Eat regular meals. Don’t try to ‘save your calories for later’ by skipping meals. That can lead to a vicious cycle of restricting and then going crazy on treats later. Instead, eat regular healthy meals, including lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains at each. You can still keep calories in check with extra fruit and veggies if you know you’ll be celebrating with cocktails later, but don’t ever skip meals!
- Speaking of cocktails, go easy on high calorie booze. Mixed drinks and creamy eggnog or cocoa can be loaded with sugar and heavy cream. Go with low calorie drinks such as a vodka soda, wine, or champagne. And sip some water in between each cocktail to keep you hydrated and sober(ish). Watch out for specialty holiday coffees, too. They’re usually full of sugary syrups and high-fat creamers. Go for the real gingerbread man or candy cane instead. You’ll feel more satisfied if you get to chew, and you’ll likely save on calories.
- Grab a plate. Even if you are at a party where there are only appetizers or snacks, putting your food on a plate will help you visualize how much you are eating and feel more like you are eating a meal. Survey the buffet table before you start grazing, try to fill at least half of your plate with fruit and veggies, and then pick a few other treats that you really want to try.
- Keep the sweets out of sight. You’ll inevitably end up with some sweet treats over the next few weeks, which is perfectly fine! Allow yourself to enjoy one each day and truly savor it! If the temptation is too much for you, keep treats stashed away in the pantry where you can’t see them in plain sight, or even in the freezer. That way they won’t go bad, but you’ll still have to wait for them to thaw before you mindlessly shovel them in.
- Stay active. Yes, it’s a busy time of year and schedules are crazy, but that’s no excuse to ignore exercise. Make a commitment to stick with your normal workout routine, and if you can’t squeeze in a formal workout, find another way to be active. Walk a couple of extra laps around the mall while you’re shopping or go play with your kids. Everything counts!
It is totally possible to enjoy the holiday season while keeping the weight off! Just stay mindful and really enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and friends instead of focusing on food. (And if you find that you tend to stress-eat during the busy month ahead, try these ways to alleviate stress without food.) You can do this, just relax. Happy holidays, friends!