The rumors of ridiculous amounts of weight gain at the holidays are greatly exaggerated. In fact, studies have found that the average person gains only 1/2 a pound to a pound during the holidays, although the average gain is much higher (5 pounds) in those who are already overweight . So what does this mean for you?
The holidays are not going to make or break the average person. If you’re already fighting a battle with your weight, however, you’re going to need to be a little more cautious. Here are 10 tips for enjoying your holiday season at parties, events, and family gatherings without doing damage to your body or your motivation.
1. Stick to the Plan When You Can
You eat 3-5 times every day, and even if you had multiple holiday gatherings in one week, as long as the rest of your meals are on track, you’re going to be ok. Sticking to your normal meals the rest of your day does two things–keeps your calories in check, and also keeps you mentally in the game so you don’t go wheels off completely off track. Moderation is the key here.
2. Make Your Plate Count
At your parties, survey the buffet table with one goal in mind–big portions of the healthier things you can find, samples of the less healthy. This way you fill up on the stuff that’s not going to hurt you, but still get to sample the yummy things, and don’t leave feeling either deprived or overstuffed.
3. Watch Liquid Calories
’Tis the season for egg nog, sugary cocktails, sodas and other holiday concoctions. Drinking your calories is trouble, as it is super easy to down a few 500 calorie drinks in a short time period. Sticking to the clear liquors with a splash of juice or soda, or wine won’t do too much damage either. Drink a glass of water in between every drink to stay hydrated, eliminate hangovers, and keep binging in check. Here’s what you should know about alcohol and weight gain.
4. Don’t Lie To Yourself
“I’ll start over in January”. Don’t get stuck in this mentality. Don’t let the premise of January resolutions give you permission for a December free-for-all. This pretty much never works. How many New Year’s resolutioners actually stick with it the rest of the year? Not many. It’s a binging cycle, and it’s insane. Don’t get caught up in it!
5. Keep Moving
Even if your diet falls off track, keep moving. Yes, it’s cold out. It might even be snowing where you live. That’s no excuse. I got in shape in my living room using bodyweight workouts without ever setting foot outdoors. Even if you lose the will to do your hardcore workouts for a bit, move somehow. Walk as much as you can, even if it’s around the mall. It does make a difference, and a little bit is better than nothing.
6. Get Someone In Your Corner
Having a partner to turn to for accountability or just to talk you through a tough situation is going to make a huge difference in your choices. We tend to follow along with the people around us, so if everyone is making poor choices, chances are we will too. Find a friend, relative, or even an internet stranger to communicate with when you need a healthy influence.
7. Be Nice To Yourself
Beating yourself up after an unhealthy meal or even a month-long binge accomplishes exactly nothing. Well, maybe one thing–making you feel worthless and like you’re not worth good health. You are not the choices of your past, either years ago or yesterday. Every minute is a chance to start over, so do that without looking back or feeling guilty. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you’re not berating yourself in the process.
8. Just Say No
If you are going the route of avoiding junk food altogether, practice your “no” line ahead of time. “I don’t eat that”, “no thank you”, “not right now”, or whatever clever line you come up with. Here’s how to say no to unhealthy food and mean it.
9. Reframe Your Idea of Fun
Yes, enjoying food is fun and we have taste buds for a reason. But there is more to life and more to the holidays. Focus on good conversation, the joy of being with those we love, laughing and relaxing.
10. Relax! Life is About Balance.
The truth is that for the majority of us, a little egg nog or a couple of Christmas Cookies isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Don’t make a little indulgence into a huge issue. Enjoy the things that are worth it, avoid the things that aren’t, take a deep breath and enjoy the holidays.
What are you doing to stay on track during the holidays?