Six ways to avoid holiday weight gain

Six ways to avoid holiday weight gain

Fudge, eggnog, cookies, roast beast, relaxation—the holidays are designed to pack on pounds. You can have fun and stay healthy, if you follow sensible rules.

Photo credit: Gareth Williams on Flickr Creative Commons

BOISE, December 23, 2015 — People of all ages and all fitness levels struggle with weight gain, especially during the cold winter months. If you reduce the amount of exercise you do, and combine that with the temptation to eat an abundance of rich foods and desserts, you are facing a seemingly no-win scenario.

The holidays are a time to visit family and friends, and in the process we share the tasty delights of holiday favorites like breads, cookies, pies, cakes and candy. We all indulge, because food is so wrapped up in holiday traditions, thus hard to avoid. And we all pay the price for it after the holidays are past.

This Christmas and New Year’s you can do a few things to watch your diet, and with any luck, not gain extra weight.

Here are six things you can do:

1. Don’t cut back on your exercise routine. Even in cold weather you can usually find a way to exercise, and you don’t have to cut back on workouts. If it’s too hard to get to the gym, try doing a 15-minute morning routine that involves stretching followed by cardiovascular activities, like jumping-jacks or squats. The important thing to remember is to never skip a day of exercise.

If you spend more time than usual relaxing, try to offset it with exercise. Avoid sitting around for long periods. If you have time off, make sure you get outside once in awhile for a walk or bike ride. If you are doing continuous training for a competitive race, make sure you use products that support your nutrition.

2. Avoid snacking between meals. This is tough, and you might need to just stay out of the kitchen if you are visiting relatives who serve up a large variety of food. It’s ok to nibble a little on snacks, but don’t fill up on them. The best idea is to not eat anything between meals so you can reduce your calorie count and avoid gaining extra weight. If you do need to snack, try to stick to healthy items, such as fresh fruit or raw vegetables.

Roman Boed on Flickr

3. Drink more water. Most people don’t drink enough water. Drink plenty of water instead of filling up on sugary drinks or alcohol. Water is filling and can help suppress appetite. It is necessary both to detox and to keep your body functioning normally. Water helps guard your immunity and protect your overall health, so remember to drink more of it.

You need at least 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses per day. You could carry a water bottle wherever you go to help you remember to stay hydrated.

4. Take smaller servings on your plate. When you are gathered around the holiday buffet, it’s easy to load up your plate with anything and everything, but you will feel much better if you just eat smaller portions. If you are hungry, eat larger portions of salads and vegetables and reduce your intake of meats and dairy foods that you know can be high in calories.

Eat less and you can still enjoy the meals, but not gain extra weight.

5. Give up second servings. Avoiding the chance to eat a second helping can make a big difference in your daily eating habits. This is hard for some people to do, especially with delicious home-cooked food served right in front of you, but make up your mind ahead of time not to take seconds.

Use your willpower instead of your spoon!

Geoff Peters on Flickr

6. Make natural fruits and veggies readily available. So many people bring sweets and desserts to your house during the holidays, and it can be tempting to eat those all the time. If you just remember to buy plenty of fruits and vegetables ahead of time and have them easily accessible, then you and your family can eat healthier snacks and not indulge as much in all the sweets.

If you have them on hand, they will most likely be eaten.

Use common sense. Even when you are traveling, you can be sensible about your diet by packing healthy snacks for your trip. If you are in unfamiliar cities, look for restaurants that offer healthy choices.

Try remembering these six easy ways to keep the weight off, and you will be on your way to a healthier and happier New Year.

Enjoy your holiday time off and travel time by relaxing and pampering yourself instead of overeating. Don’t cut back on exercise, avoid snacking between meals, drink more water, take smaller servings, give up seconds, and eat fruits and veggies for snacks.

These are simple ways to stay fit and overcome holiday habits that can cause weight gain.

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