Seasonal holidays encourage sedentary behavior, overeating, and feasting on high-calorie foods. Eggnog at your neighbor’s, frosted cookies at your friend’s house, and chocolates in your stocking, all these little things add up, and at last, your bathroom scale reveals the horrid truth that you’ve gained an extra pound.
Research points out that most people gain weight over the holidays. There is no harm in a little holiday weight gain, you might say. But researchers at the National Institute of Health reveal that most people never lose the extra calories they gained during the holidays. If this adds up year after year, then this issue becomes an area of concern.
With the right measures, you can enjoy this festive season without gaining all those extra pounds.
Tips to avoid holiday weight gain
During the holiday season, treats are easy to access, and you’ll be snacking on them unnecessarily. At home, keep the snacks out of sight; however, in an office or family party, squirrelling away becomes difficult. At such times divert your attention to either dancing or chatting and take your mind completely off food.
A typical holiday tradition is sitting on your couch and watching TV. Inactivity, coupled with overeating, contributes to weight gain. Do some physical activity with your family, such as going for long walks, jogging, or cleaning or moving your yard, if you have a stationary bike or treadmill put to good use. Go to the library, sign up for workplace or community event, or else do some water aerobics or swimming.
Practice mindful eating
Distraction leads to overeating, so says the research studies. Due to disturbance, you don’t pay attention to your body’s fullness signals. Eating mindfully prevents distractions and allows you to chew your food slowly and thoroughly. As a result, you’ll better recognize your body’s fullness signals and eat fewer calories.
Choose your appetizers wisely. Choose a small plate and stick with veggies and avoid creamy dips. Restrict yourself to a small serving of deep-fried foods. Never return for seconds. Fill your plate with salads, vegetables, and a small serving of meat and starch.
Avoid cream-based sauces or meat drippings. Go in for broth-based or vegetable salads.
Your best low-calorie dessert choices are fruits, unfrosted mini muffins, ginger snaps, or shortbread cookies. Limit alcohol intake to a couple of servings. Stick with calorie-free drinks such as unsweetened ice tea, water, hot coffee, or tea.
Focus on protein and fiber
Holiday meals are low in protein and rich in carbs. However, including more protein in the diet promotes fullness. Also, it is useful for maintaining a healthy weight. Including protein with meals automatically reduces calorie intake by reducing appetite and hunger.
Likewise, another ingredient that induces fullness is fiber. Increased amounts of dietary fiber can reduce total calorie intake. Do your best to include fiber and protein-rich foods in your diet during the holiday season.
Sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain. Insufficient sleep increases your hunger hormones resulting in the consumption of high calories. Additionally, it also lowers your metabolism.
Cut back on stress levels
Festive holidays can be quite demanding, and your stress levels may run high. Stress leads to high levels of the hormone cortisol. Higher cortisol levels are linked to greater food intake and may cause weight gain. Also, anxiety may increase your cravings for junk food. So, keep your stress levels under control by practicing meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
Enjoy this festive season with family and friends. Never attend a party on an empty stomach, eat healthy snacks before you arrive at a party. Practice healthy habits, such as meditation, keep yourself active and ring the New Year in at the peak of health.