It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the average person gains a pound or two over the holiday season (according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine). With baked goods and savory treats all around, who wouldn’t be tempted to overindulge? But a slight weight gain isn’t the real problem here. That same report also revealed that most people never lose the weight they gain from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Over ten years that weight gain becomes much more noticeable!
Since weight gain is linked to many preventable health problems, maintaining your healthy habits over the holiday season would be a wise move. No one is saying that you shouldn’t enjoy a few treats; just try to avoid the type of weight gain that sticks around and adds up over the years.
Keep up your workout schedule. It’s a busy time of year, but right now is the worst time to slack off on exercise.
Don’t drink your calories. We don’t tend to notice, or “feel full” from liquid calories. Since many holiday cocktails can pack 500 or more calories in a single drink, consider just marking these off of your treats list.
Plan active gatherings. The holidays are all about spending time with your family. But you don’t have to spend that time gathered around the dining room table. Plan some group hikes, bike rides, ice skating, or flag football games.
Eat before parties. Continue focusing on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, and eat regularly to prevent cravings. Try not to arrive at a party feeling ravenously hungry, or you might be tempted to overdo it at the buffet table.
Remember your water. You’re busy, you’re stressed, and you’re rushing from one place to the next. Take a bottle of water with you, so that you don’t misinterpret thirst signals for hunger.
Get some rest. Yes, you’re busy at this time of year, but sleep deprivation will throw off the hormones that maintain appetite and metabolism. This is no time to skimp on sleep.
Despite your best efforts, you might still gain a pound or two over the holiday season. If this happens, take action immediately in January. Weigh yourself once or twice per week and make a dedicated effort to lose the excess pounds, so that they don’t “snowball” over the next few years.