7 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight Over Christmas
Christmas is an exciting time of year. But between the parties, stress, chocolates and mince pies , it's also a time when people tend to gain weight.
In fact, between mid-November and mid-January, adults gain an average of one pound, or half a kilogram.
Most people don't lose the weight they gain over the Christmas. For this reason, holiday weight gain is one of the biggest contributors to total yearly weight gain for many people.
Good news is that you can avoid the weight gain.
1. Be Active With Family and Friends
Sedentary activities, such as sitting on the couch watching sports, are common holiday traditions for many families. Doing some type of physical activity while on holiday with your family may prove to be beneficial for weight control. An activity as simple as a family walk can provide benefits, as it will get your mind off food and allow you to bond with your loved ones.
2. Be Smart When Snacking
During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be available for you to take as you please.
This problem can be solved by keeping treats out of sight. However, that strategy is more difficult to avoid in situations that you cannot control, such as your workplace or a family dinner party.
Be mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself snacking just because there's food available — and not because you're hungry — then it's best to avoid snacking altogether.
However, if you are hungry and need a snack, opt for real foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are filling snacks that don't contain added sugars and unhealthy fats, both of which can lead to weight gain.
3. Watch Your Portion Sizes
When the holidays arrive, it can be easy to overdo it on your portion sizes. The best way to overcome this is to weigh and measure your food, or eat off smaller plates. If you're in a situation that leaves you unable to measure portions, use your best judgment to fill your plate with a reasonable amount of food.
4. Practice Mindful Eating
People are often rushed and on the go throughout the holiday season, which frequently leads to multitasking during meals. Studies show that those who eat while they are distracted are more likely to overeat. This is because they are unable to pay attention to their body's fullness signals.
Eat mindfully without distractions, including work and electronics. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, which will allow you to better recognize your body's signals of fullness and consume fewer calories.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is quite common during the holidays, and it may cause weight gain. This is because those who do not sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity. The reason behind this is that sleep restriction may increase your hunger hormone levels, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake.
6. Control Your Stress Levels
Keeping up with the demands of the holidays can be stressful.
Those who are stressed commonly have high levels of cortisol, a hormone that's released in response to stress. Chronically high cortisol levels may cause weight gain, as they have been linked to greater food intake. There are plenty of things you can do during the holidays to reduce stress. Some options include exercise, meditation, yoga and deep breathing.
7. Keep Meals Balanced With Protein
Holiday meals are typically rich in carbs but lack protein. However, it's important to include some protein with every meal, as it promotes fullness and may be useful for weight maintenance. In fact, eating protein with meals may automatically reduce calorie intake by reducing hunger and appetite. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish and some plant foods like beans and quinoa. Ensure your holiday meals include a serving or two of these foods to reduce the likelihood of overindulgence.
Remember Christmas is just 1 day over the holiday season. It does not need to be a month long celebration as your body and your mind will not be thanking you for it in January. Be as good as you can throughout the December month. Plan your meals and your exercise like any other month and take in to account any dinners or parties and adjust your calorie intake/expenditure accordingly.