Bring on the pumpkin pie, cookies, candy canes and yummy holiday smorgasbord. Oh, wait!!! No, just kidding. You came here to learn how to prevent holiday weight gain. So before we start shoving our faces this holiday season, let’s take a minute and talk about the dreaded holiday weight gain.
The holidays are wonderful times spent with our friends and family. There might be a dud in the family you may not care to see, but otherwise, it’s normally an enjoyable time filled with traditions, laughter and of course eating.
Do you ever dread the holiday season because of what it does to the scale? It’s hard to resist your favorite homemade cookie, I get it. But all that is left after the holiday season of enjoying all of the flavors is nothing but work! Hear that sister? Do you need another to-do added to your list? If you answered “no” then you’ve come to the right place.
My point here is to prevent the weight gain to start, so that you have less work to do after all the fun is over. The following 12 tips are things that have helped me over the last several years to ward off the excess holiday weight. Now let’s dive in and prevent that holiday weight gain.
I believe that most things are okay in moderation. Simply, don’t over indulge. It’s okay to indulge on your favorite holiday treats but don’t overdo it. Set limits for yourself. However, this doesn’t mean to allow yourself 30 cookies. Maybe 3 sweet treats will suffice.
2. EAT MINDFULLY
Keep mental track of what you’ve eaten throughout the day. This doesn’t mean to count anything. It just brings awareness to your choices. Being more mindful of what you’ve already consumed will help you to make better choices when it comes to stuffing your face. Lastly, ask yourself if the item you are eyeing is worth the extra calories and potential weight gain.
This one is important. If you’re going to eat, you need to move. I firmly believe in this one on the day-to-day, but it becomes even more important when you’re consuming more than you normally do. And let’s be real, the extra consumption isn’t celery sticks and carrots.
I don’t care what kind of exercise you are getting, but it needs to be something. If it’s too cold walk outside, go to a shopping mall or local WalMart and walk briskly for 20-30 minutes. I’m sure you’ll burn a few extra calories by dodging the hordes of holiday shoppers. If you’re feeling ambitious, swing by the fitness department and grab a set of dumbbells to carry around with you.
4. MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES
This kind of circles back to eating mindfully. When possible, make healthier choices. If you know you want to indulge at dinner – not over indulge- then maybe breakfast and lunch will consist of light fares.
Simply put: Don’t eat shit food all day.
5. SAY NO
Did you ever go through the D.A.R.E program in school growing up? “Just say no” was a common theme. Just because it’s in front of you doesn’t mean you need to consume. There are plenty of ways to politely decline.
6. TAKE ONE BITE
This one helped me tremendously as I navigated a healthier lifestyle. If you find yourself unable to resist a sweet treat, then take one bite and throw the rest away. I am not a fan of waste but you owe it to yourself and your body. If you try a cookie that looked good and it’s terrible, then throw it away. You don’t need to waste the calories on something you aren’t going to enjoy anyways.
One bite should be enough to satisfy the craving so you aren’t sitting there agonizing over how badly you want to try it. However, as you eat it, tell yourself how good it is and savor the flavor as you eat it. Remember, 15 seconds of flavor satisfaction likely isn’t worth the work that will be needed to get rid of excess weight gain.
7. LIMIT TASTE TESTING
If you are the one baking or cooking, this one is mainly for you. Getting food or some yummy frosting on your fingers is inevitable when working in the kitchen. Don’t lick it! Not only is it unsanitary, but those calories count too.
For those not working in the kitchen, don’t nibble. Save room for dinner!
8. USE A SMALLER PLATE
I know how easy it can be to be excited for all of the delicious food at holiday events. I also know how common it is that people get halfway through their dinner plate and are stuffed already. Try taking a small plate. Once you have it loaded, I’m certain it will be enough to fill your belly happily and more appropriately.
If you can’t fit everything on your plate, make your portions even smaller. Pick and choose if you need to and skips seconds unless you are really and truly hungry.
9. BRING A HEALTHY DISH
Be the one that takes the healthy dish to the party. This benefits everyone and I’m sure you will be thanked by someone. And if not, you were doing it for yourself anyways so it doesn’t matter.
10. WATCH YOUR DRINKS
So many calories can be saved by watching what we consume in our drinks. Specifically, alcoholic ones. Drink in moderation or find drinks that are less on the caloric scale. Alcoholic or not though, cut some of it out and stick to water. It may not be fun but you will thank yourself in the long run.
11. CREATE A MANTRA
Create a mantra you tell yourself to stay on track. “I happy without this treat.” “My body does not need this cookie”. “This cookie does not nourish my body.” This also comes back to being aware and eating mindfully. The hardest part is to say no and walk away. Once you’ve done that, you likely won’t think of it again.
12. GIVE YOUR BODY RESPECT
Treat it as you would your most valuable possession – because it’s the only one you’ve got. That said, give your body the respect it deserves by nourishing it with what it needs to fuel rather than suppress it with sugars and processed foods.
Now that you know how to prevent holiday weight gain, let it sink in. It all comes back to being mindful and aware of what you are putting in your body. Only you can make the choices about what you consume. Is the 15 seconds of flavor worth the extra weight that is likely held onto for years?
If you found this informative or helpful, please let me know in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram. I’d love to hear from you.