With family gatherings, charity bake sales, and corporate parties throughout the season, gaining weight around the holidays is a concern for many adults. Studies show that in two months (mid-November to mid-January), Americans gain an average of one pound due to increased calorie consumption and lower activity levels.
Whether you’re dieting or trying to maintain your health this winter, weight gain doesn’t have to be a part of your holiday season.
- Make being active a family affair. From walks after dinner to football games, make physical activity a part of your family traditions.
- Be mindful of your snacking habits. Before you snack, ask yourself if you’re eating because you are hungry or because there’s just food around.
- Stick to a normal sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation, which is common around the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, can lead to increased hunger and decreased energy levels.
- Manage your stress. Stress is another thing that can cause you to snack more than normal.
- Avoid the bar. Alcohol can significantly increase your calorie intake, especially when you consider all of the sodas and juices it’s often mixed with.
- Don’t choose processed foods. Instant mashed potatoes and stuffing are everywhere around the holidays, but they come with a price. Processed foods tend to be high in sugar, preservatives, salt, and fat.
- Portion control is everything. People often think that they have to completely avoid the dessert table around the holidays, which isn’t true. Instead, fill your plate with mostly fruits and vegetables at dinner then enjoy a small snack afterwards.
- Take a smaller plate. Do you have trouble controlling your portion sizes? A good trick is to use a smaller plate and avoid going up for seconds.
- Weigh yourself periodically. Getting on the scale every few days is a good reminder of your weight loss goals.
- Don’t cook while you’re hungry. Cooking while hungry will make you more likely to taste test everything you’re making (often more than once).
- Bring your own healthy dishes. If you’re going to a party, bring a dish you can turn to if healthy options are slim.
- Make smart substitutions. Replace butter with applesauce, sugar with a low-calorie sweetener, and frying with baking. Small changes will make a big difference.
- Grab a partner. Is someone else in your family also dieting or trying to be healthier? Support each other and keep an eye out for one another during gatherings.
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