“Tis the season for merriment, celebrating, and complete overindulgence,” – for most of us, yes! Christmas is that time of year to celebrate without limits. It’s that time of year when the sights, smells and sounds all remind you of just one thing, a reason to celebrate Christmas.
We lower the guard on purpose, and want to indulge when the smell of gingerbread cookies or the lamb on the grill invites. Christmas time has a fool proof way to make you packs on these pounds. While the main culprit is the multiplication of food choices at Christmas, it’s not necessarily one thing, but rather a combination of a whole bunch of factors including stress, alcohol, fried hors d’oeuvres, big celebratory meals, sweets and a reduction in exercise. The table that hosted the health.
All of a sudden, your typically healthy diet morphs into one based predominantly on candy, cheese, fatty meats, and pastries thanks to an abundance of holiday parties. Packing on the pounds seems inevitable.
The average weight gain during the four-week holiday period is actually closer to one pound than the seven to 10 pounds that many people believe it is. Sounds like good news, right? Don’t whip out your noise makers in cheer just yet. The downside is that people don’t usually lose this one pound once they’ve gained it. The average weight gain per year is two pounds which breaks down to approximately 20 pounds in a decade!
Why is this so bad?
Year on year you add a few pounds in your 40’s, another few in your 50’s and all of sudden you have a big increased risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. One study showed that overweight people gain about 5 pounds during the holidays and if you are already trying to lose those extra pounds you gained in non-celebratory mode, then you’re even more at risk.
There are a few ways though that you can follow to get the better of this Holiday weight gain. If we put a little bit of conscious thought into what we eat and drink instead of practicing total abandon, there are ways to keep those creepy weights tipping the wrong way.
1. Drink up wisely.
For an average person with optimal body weight, six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids every day is the prescribed limit. But if you are exercising every day, or are sick, pregnant, or breast-feeding, or have just participated in an intense sweaty workout or labour, you will need to increase your intake of water everyday.
Say you normally have seven drinks per week but then can’t help but watch it add up into many more during the Holiday season. This could contribute to your weight in through the added calories. Moreover binge drinking may also lead to sleep disruption, poor sleep pattern and to a greater consumption of food. If you can plan to stay away from alcohol on nights that you aren’t partying, you could in a way compensate for indulgent nights. Simply skip the nights that are not festive.
Also during the festive season, if you will to keep the unnecessary calories in check, do so by opting to stay out of other calorie rich foods & drinks that you usually might consume. Choose options with zero carbohydrates like a cup of peppermint tea, instead of an eight-ounce hot chocolate with whipped cream which contains 183 calories. Moreover, it’s best to view hot chocolate as an occasional indulgence instead of a daily drink.
It has been noted that around 75% of Americans could be chronically dehydrated, which many of us mistake for hunger. By choosing to sip water or tea throughout the day, you’re ensuring that you never misinterpret thirst for hunger again, thereby differentiating the two.
It is necessary to stay hydrated to keep your body functioning properly and it could also prevent you from overeating.
2. Plan your conscious indulgences.
Before mindlessly eating every morsel within arm’s reach, stop and think. Don’t fall into the trap of using celebration during the holiday season as an excuse to overindulge. Be cautious as some people develop a ‘What the hell?’ attitude.
If you are invited to a party, first try to walk around the buffet table and choose a few tops picks that you cannot live without. Have them in limited portion sizes. This holiday season, make sure you indulge this way and plan for no more than two each week during this season.
3. Keep your healthiest qualities in check.
The time between Halloween and New Year’s Day is a marathon, not a sprint. Look at a calendar. If you’re attending three events per week, your indulgence quota should be different than if you’re attending one per month. Plan indulgences ahead of time so you don’t go off the rails. Are you a breakfast eater? Do you always have a healthy afternoon snack? People often put their healthy behaviors aside during this time of year.
If you are a regular workout freak, don’t give it up during the holiday season when you will be adding a few more pounds to your weight. It has been proven beyond doubt that mean and women who worked out in the morning not only moved more the rest 0of the day, but they also had a diminished sense of food need in comparison to the days that they have a morning workout. Never skip on your schedule and say, “I’ll get back to that in January.” How much did you sweat today is a question that you should answer everyday.
Fight back holiday bulge with a morning sweat session, even if it means waking up a little bit earlier than usual. This way you can also stay active without cutting into social events. Even if you get half a chance to exercise by climbing a step of stairs instead of taking the lift, please do. Try going for a run, hitting the stationary bike.
4. Learn to say no!
Many of us eat out of boredom, so you’re a lot less likely to overdo it if you’re actually having a good time. Food plays such a huge role in celebrations, it can be easy to forget why you’re even celebrating. Instead of spending all your time at the buffet table or next to the bar, mingle with your peers and enjoy their company.
Sometimes saying no to others is saying yes to ourselves. Overdoing it during the holidays leads to stress and fatigue, both triggers for overeating and weigh-management disaster. We can wind up eating as a means of comfort. And when we find it hard to say no even to ourselves? “Delay and distance,” Lewis says. “If you find yourself wanting more food, wait 10 minutes and find something to capture your attention. After 10 minutes, if you find yourself hungry, go through the steps again.”
5. Find a Substitute!
How much ever you try to avoid them, creamy, buttery foods have a way of creeping back into our diets during the holidays and so it’s no wonder that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Still, a set of minor tweaks to your food choices can cut calories and unhealthy fats without sacrificing taste. The ingredient swaps they use to transform diet disasters into healthy, yet flavorful holiday meals.
Don’t deprive yourself of once-yearly favorites, just re-think them. From starting your healthy twist with low-calorie, no-fat mustard instead of mayo on your Thanksgiving turkey sandwich to mashing your potatoes with stock and not butter. Cut calories and empty carbs by making mashed cauliflower instead, as Mashed cauliflower has the same texture and similar flavor, and in addition to being more waistline-friendly, cauliflower is loaded with vitamin. Any food that goes well with sour cream can instantly be made healthier by subbing it with equal amounts of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt.