Since the holiday season is steadily approaching, members of our medical weight loss clinics often ask for tips to combat holiday weight gain. Research shows that the average American gains weight during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With that in mind, it makes sense to adopt some strategies to help you enjoy the season without getting off track.
The tips below will help you tackle holiday temptation without gaining weight.
While there may be more festive parties and meals than usual, follow your normal routine the rest of the time. Eat at your regular times and be consistent with your sleep schedule. Often times we mistake tiredness for hunger, so avoid this with regular sleep.
Lean protein fills you up and promotes lean muscle mass, which helps us burn more calories throughout the day. Eat a protein-rich breakfast and lunch and seek out the protein dishes first when you hit parties and holiday dinners. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to enjoy turkey, which is an excellent source of lean protein and contains tryptophan, which boosts serotonin and melatonin.
Alcoholic drinks offer empty calories and little, if any, nutritional value. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which can cause you to overeat or even binge. If you do partake, opt for low calorie libations such as wine or a drink with a soda water mixer. Avoid sugar-laden mixers altogether—they add on the calories and make your blood sugar spike. Drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink to stay hydrated.
Members of our medical weight loss clinics often share that they used to skip meals to “save up” for the bigger meals, especially during the holidays. This usually backfires—we end up overeating and our metabolism slows down when calories are limited for an extended period of time. Avoid bingeing by eating normal meals rich in protein and fiber throughout the day. This helps control your appetite and promotes healthy digestion.
Holidays can bring the stress—you may have anything from parties and relatives coming to visit to shopping and traveling to do. Stress can cause cravings and emotional eating if we don’t deal with it head on. Set aside time to take part in the stress reduction activities that work for you. Try to meditate, go for a walk, do yoga, get a massage, deep breathe or even go to a movie when you’re feeling stressed.
Don’t make excuses to stray from your workout routine or put exercise off until the New Year. Go for your morning run, hit the gym or your drop in on your favorite exercise class as you can during the holiday season. Schedule it like you would a doctor’s appointment or work meeting and stick to it.
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