Festive Temptations: How to avoid weight gain over the holidays
Everyone loves the holidays—the snow, gifts, seeing friends and family, and most of all, the FOOD! We’ve all allowed ourselves to indulge over the holidays and then figured we’ll deal with any weight gain in the new year, because that’s what new year’s resolutions are for, right?
Unfortunately, very few people are successful at getting back to their “pre-holiday weight” and eventually, that adds up. Many of my patients come to see me because they gradually gained 20-30 pounds over several years. In the average holiday season, you might gain about 3-5 pounds. At this rate, it would only take you a few years to put on a significant amount of weight that becomes very difficult to lose.
Can you relate to this?
5 tips to help you avoid gaining that “holiday weight” while not feeling deprived
1 – Keep up the physical activity
In order to offset the extra calories, keep working out, doing yoga, swimming, etc. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll “pick it up again” in the new year! Not in a regular routine? Now might be the time to start! There are lots of gyms and fitness studios with holiday specials that you can take advantage of now. Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for weight management, stress management, and for your overall health.
2 – Try (modified) intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) means limiting the times in which you eat. Most (if not all) of my patients are told to have at least 12 hours fasting overnight. This means that if you stop eating at 7 pm, you do not eat anything (except water) until 7 am. For some people, an extended period of 16-18 hours fasting might be beneficial, depending on what your health status is and which medications you are taking. IF allows your blood sugar levels to normalize and allows your digestive system to take a break.
3 – Keep the goodies out of your home and desk
Let others stock up on truffles, cookies, and other sugary treats. Instead of keeping them available at your home or desk all day long, set a weekly limit for yourself. Also, encourage others around you to avoid keeping sugar visible.
4 – Keep healthy snacks around
Just because it’s the holidays it doesn’t mean you have to abandon all your healthy habits! You’re still allowed to eat vegetables and hummus, fruit, and almonds that aren’t covered in chocolate. Keep healthy snacks with you so you are less likely to indulge.
5 – Grab smaller plates at holiday parties
At buffet-style parties, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs. Grab a smaller plate, have some salad or veggies first to fill you up. Once you’ve had your veggies, try to make sure you are hitting your protein and fiber options next and then allow yourself to have a small amount of some the higher quality treats. Skip the treats that you can find anywhere or can get any time—instead, go for the treats that include higher quality ingredients (ie. not processed).
Sometimes you can do all the right things, but the weight still seems to pile on. If you are having difficulty losing weight, make sure you get checked out to see if there is anything going on with your hormones. See your naturopathic doctor or health care provider for a full assessment to see if more changes are
Christine Cho, ND