We love to indulge in the holiday season, and unfortunately for most of us this means about a 5-pound weight gain every year over the holidays. Studies have said this contributes most to the weight gain in adulthood. What this means for you is that you must try not only to avoid holiday weight gain, but that you must also strive to lose whatever weight you might have gained during the holidays. Not by starvation. Not by dieting. There’s a much better way. Follow these simple steps and you’ll lose your holiday weight in no time 🙂
- Avoid indulgence. People sometimes ten to carry on eating desserts and junk food from they had purchased (or made) during the holidays well into the post-holiday season, continuing the trend of weight gain. While you might have indulged (maybe a little or maybe a lot)? in the holiday season, get back to your usual eating habits – if they’re generally healthy habits – if not, consciously make an effort to eat healthy. (Re) Start having home cooked meals and avoid outside food and junk foods.
2. Eat more servings of fruits and vegetables. When you’re hungry, snack on fruits and unsalted nuts and seeds. For main meals, include a lot of vegetables, avoid refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice) and eat complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa etc.
3. Start moving again. It might be hard to get back to a routine especially if you’ve been skipping your workouts in the holiday season, but it’s important to start again. It’s OK to miss a day or two when trying to get back on track, but at least you will have started. The long you wait, the harder it will be getting back to your routine. If you’re too busy for workouts, go for walks.
4. Avoid refined sugar. Sugar makes you crave more sugar. The holiday season calls for some sweet treats, but they shouldn’t continue post-holiday. If you have left overs, please discard them. If you still have chocolates and other holiday purchases, discard them as well. Want something sweet? Go eat a fruit. No restrictions on nature’s candy 🙂
5. Snack (fruit) often, especially before you begin to get hungry. This might sound counter-intuitive, but if you pick an apple before you’re actually hungry, you’re more likely to eat the apple, and less likely to want to eat some junk after that. On the contrary, if you wait until you’re really hungry, you might want to reach for a sugary or salty junk food.
6. Chew thoroughly and eat slowly. This one is much more important than most people realize. If you eat in a rush, you don’t realize if you’re full. The brain takes 20 minutes to register if you’re full. If you chew thoroughly and take your time eating, you give your brain enough time to realize that you really are full and need to stop eating. This has a big role to play in avoiding overeating.
7. Don’t diet. Watch what you eat, but do not ‘diet’ or deprive yourself. Diets can lead to effective weight loss, but in the short term. People usually put the weight back on within a year of going off diets. On the other hand, if you watch what you eat – meaning you eat healthy and do not deprive yourself, you’ll be much more likely to not only lose weight, but also maintain your weight in the long term.
8. Eat mindfully. Turn off the TV. Don’t rush. Eat in a relaxed state and focus on the food. Understand that the (healthy) food that you’re eating is going to nourish you and keep you healthy if you let it. People who eat mindfully eat healthy foods and do not overeat.
9. Eat balanced meals. Focus on the nutrients, not on calories. Whole, minimally processed foods are not only rich in micronutrients, they are naturally low in calories as well so you can focus your energy on choosing healthy whole foods and not on counting calories.
10. Avoid stress. Holiday season can be extremely stressful for some, and chronic stress causes the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol which leads to weight gain. Stress is also a major cause of overeating. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga to help manage stress.
11. Sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause overeating and weight gain. Lack of sleep also causes stress levels to rise. Maintain good sleep hygiene