How to keep holiday weight gain at bay

November 27, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Don’t let holiday celebrations give you the gift of a couple extra pounds this season.

Studies suggest the average American gains around two pounds during the holiday season running from Thanksgiving until about New Year’s Day.

With a little effort, you can limit or prevent those additional pounds this holiday season:

  • Yes, that’s right. If Grandma’s apple pie is your absolute favorite, have a slice and enjoy. While your gut instinct may be to avoid calorie-laden holiday favorites, that can often backfire and lead to overeating. Instead, pick one of your favorites, serve yourself a smaller portion and enjoy.

  • Don’t starve. Skipping a meal or going to a socially-distanced gathering hungry can spell disaster. You will be more likely to cave and eat those high calorie foods or heap larger servings on your plate. Have a healthy snack like Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts before a big holiday meal so you aren't famished.

  • Maintain. Focus on maintaining your current weight during the holiday season. Setting a goal of dropping 10 pounds during the holidays may leave you disappointed when you ring in the new year.

  • Have a game plan. Spend a few minutes with your calendar and take a look at the (socially distanced or virtual) holiday gatherings you will attend. What foods will be served? Can you bring a healthy dish for the potluck? Thinking about how you’ll handle holiday gatherings — and sticking to your plan — can help you minimize weight gain.

  • Get moving. If you regularly exercise, consider adding a few minutes each day to your routine. If you don’t regularly exercise, set attainable goals for yourself such as committing to a 20 minute walk or hitting the gym a few times a week. Even small changes — like taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator or opting for a further parking space at the mall — can help.

  • Don’t avoid the scale until the new year. Check your weight weekly so you can keep tabs on what’s happening and adjust accordingly.

  • Keep up with healthy habits. The old standards still apply during the holidays. Be sure you are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet and keeping serving sizes in check.

This blog was reviewed by Toni Havala, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian with Endeavor Health® Weight Management.

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