Friday, November 18, 2016

How To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

How to avoid holiday weight gain

This is the least you will weigh all year.

How does that sound? Awful if you ask me. The fact is that Halloween unofficially kicked off what some call "The Weight Gain Season".

Cornell University study recently determined that "In the U.S., weight patterns begin rising at Thanksgiving and peak around Christmas and New Year's." 😳

It makes sense when you think about it. It's starts with the leftover Halloween candy: a piece here and there. Then the Thanksgiving celebrations at work begin followed by the celebrations at home in which we must eat some of Aunt Sue's famous casserole. We enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers for a few days. Then we get back to work where we're inundated with Christmas goodies and that darn tin of the cheese, caramel and plain popcorn every office gets. You know where it goes from there: Christmas parties, a few extra glasses of champagne, a second serving of pie, it goes on.

Before we know it, we're five pounds heavier.

RELATED: 10 Simple Diet Strategies to Help You Enjoy Thanksgiving

The study also found that it isn't until Easter when we lose the weight and our weight patterns "even out".  Ugh.

Here's the thing: you can absolutely enjoy the holidays without gaining weight. They key is approaching this season with the mindset that you will indulge but do it intelligently.

Here are 10 tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain:

1. Weigh Yourself Twice a Week 

I'm not a big fan of the scale but if you monitor your weight during the holiday season, you can watch for big weight swings. Hop on the scale first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty.

2. Start the Day with a Good Breakfast

You can always start the day a healthy way. Eating a good breakfast can set the tone for a healthy day. Consider a green smoothie, an omelette with veggies and a side of berries or a bowl of oatmeal with fruit, peanut butter and cinnamon. Word of caution: don't do cereal. It's a fat pill. Here's why.

3. Don't Drink Too Much at Parties

Stick to the 2-Drink Rule. Drinking too much leads to eating too much. When you arrive at a party, grab a glass of sparking water (enjoy it in a wine glass) or some other non-caloric beverage. Then you can start with the booze. After your first glass of alcohol, sip a big glass of water slowly. You can have another cocktailif you like but that's it. You get two drinks and then it's back to water, coffee, teas.

4. Stay Active 

Here's the best news you'll read all day: shopping burns calories! Many times exercise is the first thing to go during our jampacked holiday schedule. You can combat that by taking advantage of every day opportunities to exercise. Walk briskly when doing your holiday shopping. Park far away from the mall entrance to get in a few extra steps. Take the stairs. Look for chances to move when you can.

Bonus Tip: try to exercise first thing in the morning so that you don't run the risk of skipping it later in the day.

5. Use Smaller Plates 

Why Small Plates Help You Lose Weight

This really works. Eat off a smaller 8-10 inch salad plate versus a big 12-inch entree plate. You can only pack so much onto a small plate. Large plates make a serving of food appear smaller while smaller plates make us think the same serving of food is larger.

6. Start Meals with the Good Stuff

Most every meal or party has a great salad or vegetable platter. For your first course, fill up your plate with vegetables and/or some salad. This fiber fills you up and makes you less hungry for the casseroles, pies and cheese tray.

7. Eat Slowly

The faster we eat the more we consume. Eating slowly allows time for your stomach to signal to your brain it's full. The easiest way to eat slowly? Put down your fork between each bite. This simple habit is a diet gamechanger. Scroll down for more of my favorite diet habits.

8. Eat Only What You Really Want

If you avoid all your favorite treats at one party, you might overindulge at the next. Enjoy your indulgences but be smart about them. Do you really need chips or bread? Probably not. You can get that any time of the year. What holiday foods are you really looking forward to eating? Is it Aunt Sue's casserole? If so, then eat it slowly enjoy every delicious bite of it. Cut back on the filler-food you can live without.

9. The Power of a Polite "No"

If you have been invited to party or event at someone's house, focus on the social aspect of the gathering, not the food. You don't have to eat everything they offer. Remember: you can always decline. Simply saying "That was delicious, but I am stuffed" or "Thank you but I am still full from lunch" absolutely work!

10. Carry a Clutch to a Party 

This tip is for the gals. Sounds crazy but when you go to a party, bring a clutch bag with you. Carrying a clutch gives you only one free hand. Meaning, you can't hold a glass of champagne in one hand and a plate full of food in another. You can only hold so much. This absolutely works.

The Takeaway

To stay sane, don't even think about losing weight during the holidays. Focus on maintaining it. During this time of year, flat is the new up or down, in this case.

Do you have a tried and true holiday diet strategy? I would love to know it. Please share it in the comments section.

Get More Simple Diet Tips
Would you like more easy strategies to help you lose and maintain your weight loss? I wrote a teeny tiny ebook to help you do just that called The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Strategies To Help You Lose Weight And Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good.

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Working for Knoxville's WBIR-TV, circa 1998, around 190 pounds
I was fat. 200 pounds fat. But after learning more about nutrition and smart exercise, I dropped the weight and have kept it off for more than a decade. It's not about big, sweeping changes.

Permanent and sustainable weight loss is all about adopting simple habits & making minor lifestyle changes that can help you lose weight & keep it off. For good.
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