Every year, members of our medical weight loss clinics ask for tips for getting through the holidays. While holidays are one of the best times of year, they also put us at risk to pack on the pounds. While we may only gain a pound or two, research shows that most people don’t lose the weight gained during the holiday season.
The tips below will help you keep holiday weight gain at bay without sacrificing one ounce of fun.
1. Focus on Protein
Typical holiday fare is heavy on the carbs and less focused on protein. Be conscious of this and up your protein intake during the holidays. You can still have some carbs, but balance your plate out with lean protein. Lean protein keeps you fuller longer and helps build lean muscle mass, which is essential for those on diets and weight loss programs. The greater amount of lean muscle mass you have, the greater number of calories you’ll burn on a daily basis.
2. Snack Smart
Holiday snacking can be dangerous—especially when people send gift baskets full of treats to your home or workplace. When unhealthy snacks are readily available, it can be difficult to resist temptation and grazing may occur. Avoid this by keeping the treats out of sight or giving them away to a homeless shelter. Have a stash of healthy snacks readily available so you can satiate cravings. Some good choices are nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, low fat Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and protein bars.
The holidays can be stressful which can trigger cravings for sugary treats and junk food. Have a plan in place to reduce stress so that you do not fall prey to emotional eating. Set aside time every day for your favorite stress reduction activity. If you don’t have one, there is no better time to find one and put it into practice. Some excellent options include meditation, exercise, reading, deep breathing, spending time with pets or going for a walk in nature.
4. Be Active
Continue following your regular exercise routine as much as possible during the holiday season. Book an extra exercise class or gym time whenever you can. Increase the duration of your workout to help compensate for additional calories you may consume. Instead of sitting on the sofa watching sports and snacking, recruit family members to go for a walk to play a backyard sport during family gatherings.
5. Use Small Plates for Portion Control
It can be really easy to overdo portions at holiday meals and special events. One of the best ways to practice portion control is to use smaller plates since they hold less food. Grab a salad or appetizer plate, eat slowly and call it a day when it’s empty. This simple trick can work wonders in fighting holiday weight gain.
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