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It’s that time of year again when people start planning for the holidays. During the holiday season, many of us tend to gain weight. This is mostly because of the increased consumption of calorie-rich food and the sedentary behavior during the holidays. In Western societies, this annual weight gain is around 1 pound which doesn’t sound like much until you have to get rid of it after the holidays.

While it can be overwhelming to start making New Year’s resolutions, it can be helpful to start with a plan to maintain your health style throughout the festivities. Mindset is important during the holidays, as it can be challenging to maintain a healthy eating plan and stay positive when things go wrong. Self-compassion is also a great way to allow yourself to come out on the other side happy and healthy. 

Managing Weight Over The Holidays

Be realistic with your goals and eat mindfully for weight management

It’s important to be realistic when it comes to goals. Trying to go the entire holiday season without eating chocolate is likely not going to work. Once you have a good idea of which events are worth a food splurge, you can then evaluate them. That way, you won’t feel left out but will also remain in control. Once you have decided which events you’re going to ‘splurge’ on, enjoy them guilt-free. 

Eating mindfully is ultimately much more critical than controlling what you eat with an iron fist. We tend to get busy over the festive season and thus don’t plan ahead or eat proper food. We end up eating in a rush or snacking rather than eating slowly and enjoying the food.

Whilst you eat, try to remove all your electronics. You don’t need to be distracted by your phone while you are eating. In fact, being distracted by your TV or phone will likely lead to overeating. When you eat, chew slowly and focus on enjoying the food. This will give you a much better idea of when you are full. 

Eat what’s good and plan ahead

One of the most important factors to consider when planning for food is making sure that you’re eating properly both before and after the event. This is particularly important when it comes to cocktail parties and drinks after work. Eating a healthy snack or meal beforehand will help you to avoid making poor food choices. For longer dinner parties, try eating a balanced meal and top up on veggies to avoid feeling hungry. If you do snack, try to make sure you choose a healthy option that will help keep you fuller for longer. 

It’s also best to really think about why you’re snacking: are you hungry or just bored? During the festive season, there are often treats everywhere. Sweets and chocolates are much more easily accessible than they are during the rest of the year.

If you struggle not to grab a bar of chocolate when they’re on the counter, try putting them away and bringing them out only occasionally. You don’t have to totally avoid sugary snacks, just try to opt for fruit, nuts, or veggies most of the time. 

Keep active to help manage your weight

winter walk I weight

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Unfortunately, most of us tend to become very sedentary over the holiday season. In the Northern hemisphere, it gets colder outside, and you’re less inclined to go outside for a walk when it’s freezing cold. But sitting on the couch during the holidays can definitely contribute to weight gain.

Even a simple walk with your family can help prevent overeating. It’s also a feel-good activity that gets you out of the house. Fresh air is always a good idea, and getting outside with the family can be a great bonding experience. You don’t have to go with a crazy winter sport like skiing or start hiking up mountains. But just a walk with your dog and family can really help to keep you healthy. 

Control your stress and get enough sleep

Things can get crazy around the holiday season, but it’s important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. We can tend to become stressed about all the tasks that need to be done. This might be getting jobs finished before work closes or even preparing for Christmas dinner, buying gifts, etc…But high stress causes high cortisol levels. This can lead to weight gain and is also linked to overeating. To reduce stress, you can try meditation, exercise yoga, or even just deep breathing. Dancing around to the new Taylor Swift album may also help. 

Sleep is also vital. Stress can lead to a lack of sleep and vice versa. Sleep deprivation, like stress, is linked to weight gain. Lack of sleep seems to increase your hunger levels and is even linked to a lower metabolic rate. Try to make sure that you are getting enough sleep and aren’t sacrificing it in order to get through your to-do list. 

References 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tips-to-avoid-holiday-weight-gain#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/how-prevent-holiday-weight-gain-according-nutritionist-ncna938176

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/yes-you-can-avoid-weight-gain-over-the-holidays-2019112518309

https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/dont-gain-weight-during-the-holidays#1

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Katie Hart

Katie Hart is a successful beauty and fashion blogger who is currently studying a BA in Fashion Media at LISOF. Her hobbies include styling, reading, true crime podcasts and singing. She is a lover of all things fashion, but is happiest when sitting with her mini Maltese, Aria.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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