The holiday season is upon us, which for many people adds up to extra indulgences leading to unwanted weight gain. On average, adults tend to gain up to two pounds during the holidays for a variety of reasons. These may include:
- Attending gatherings that feature calorie-dense food and drinks
- Indulging in holiday favorites and elaborate meals
- Being more stressed
- Feeling more carefree
Additionally, many people tend to engage in less physical activity when it’s cold outside or they can't find the time. This can make it harder to maintain weight.
Skip the Holiday Weight Gain This Year
While big family gatherings, holiday buffets, and workplace events may be on hold this year due to the pandemic, there are still many temptations adding up to unwanted pounds.
You may still be part of cookie exchanges, have days off from work, or try to recreate old family recipes from your own home. Not being as social this year may even cause you to turn to food more than usual as a way to deal with your emotions.
But just because the calendar says December doesn’t mean you can’t keep your weight in check. With a little effort – and these four simple steps – avoiding weight gain during the holidays is possible.
Monitor Portion Sizes
It’s easy to polish off a tin of gifted caramel popcorn or glazed nuts in one sitting if you aren’t paying attention. While those snacks may be delicious, they are often high in calories and can contribute to unwanted weight gain.
Pay attention to the quantity of food you consume by measuring out a proper portion size instead of eating food straight from the original packaging.
Limit Liquid Calories
If festive cocktails are abundant, you may want to pay more attention to what you're drinking. Alcohol can be a major contributor to weight gain because of the empty calories it offers. This goes for sodas and sugar-sweetened juices too.
Stick with water or a calorie-free seltzer during cocktail hour. Or if you can’t do without the booze, try a spritzer: equal parts white wine and seltzer. This concoction will cut your calorie intake in half and help keep you hydrated at the same time.
Worried about Managing Diabetes?
Weight gain isn't the only concern during the holidays. If you have diabetes, talk with a provider about the best diet for you.
Snack Before a Get-Together
This tip goes against the classic recommendation about not spoiling your appetite. But eating a small snack before an event may help you avoid overeating.
Noshing on a handful of walnuts or a piece of fruit before you leave the house can reduce hunger pangs and help you make better food choices.
Stay Physically Active
It’s tempting to sit in front of the TV sipping on hot chocolate at this time of year. And you might have more time for that, if typical events are canceled due to COVID-19.
Balancing sedentary activities with some movement will help support your efforts to maintain your weight. Try:
- Walking around your neighborhood to see the lights
- Playing a family game of touch football in your yard
These can still get you in the holiday spirit while also getting the blood flowing and burning some extra calories.
Avoiding holiday weight gain doesn’t have to mean skipping occasional indulgences and depriving yourself of what you love about the season. With simple lifestyle tweaks, you can still enjoy holiday traditions with family and friends and treat yourself to holiday favorites without worrying about the number on the scale.
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