5 Simple Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (And Still Have Fun)


Last week I talked about 5 Simple Ways to Allow More Happiness into Your Life. I hope this post helped you to feel happier especially since the holidays are upon us again. I decided to stick with the “5 Simple Ways” theme for this week’s post too. 

Have you put “avoid gain weight” on the top of your holiday ‘to do’ list? The average American only gains 1-2 pounds during the period of time between Halloween and New Year’s but 75% of weight gain usually occurs during the holidays. If you add that weight up over a 5-10 year period you are looking at a 10-20 pound weight gain. 

With Thanksgiving coming up in a few days I wanted to share some tips that have helped my husband and I to stay the healthy course from now through New Year’s Day. We traditionally run a 5 mile road race on Thanksgiving morning so this is one way I get a calorie deficit going on Turkey Day. But you don’t have to go to that extreme to manage your holiday calories.

The biggest challenge I think is that people give themselves permission to overindulge because of the holidays. Between the exorbitant amount of calories consumed on Thanksgiving Day (Americans eat on average 4500 calories) and the extra calories consumed during the Christmas season, many Americans may feel like managing their weight can be a lost cause. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. Matter of fact, I believe that it is possible to enjoy the holidays, food and all, and avoid weight gain. As much fun as overindulging can be, it doesn’t make you feel so great afterwards. When you don’t feel your best then maintaining healthy habits can be more difficult.
I have always believed in the 80-20 rule. If you can maintain your healthy habits 80% of the time then the 20% will take care of itself. I think this is a good rule to live by during the holidays. You can still go to the office Christmas party, sneak a few cookies while baking, and enjoy your favorite holiday foods. Just try to limit your indulgences to those special times.
Over the years I have incorporated 5 simple tips that have helped my husband and I to maintain our healthy lifestyle and enjoy the holiday festivities.

1.   Plan your indulgences
Know what you are going to eat for your holiday meal and dessert ahead of time. Either make a mental note of your planned food intake or better yet write down your plan in a journal. This simple exercise sets the tone for the day. Essentially you are giving yourself permission to indulge within reason.

2.      Exercise
Before the day gets busy sneak in an easy workout such as a walk, some yoga, or if you’re ambitious hit the gym for a short workout. I recommend exercise to also help set the tone for the day. I have found that exercise decreases my desire to overindulge.

3.    Start the day out right
Eat a normal breakfast to set your blood sugar and then maybe a healthy snack before the holiday festivities begin. Overindulging is less appealing when you’re not starving.
4.     Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated will also decrease overindulgence. If you are going to have alcoholic beverages drink some water in between your cocktails to avoid dehydration the next day.

5.      Get back on track
Enjoy the holidays but then get back to your regular routine the very next day. Don’t use the holiday as an excuse to continue overindulging for days or weeks on end. 
As you can see it is possible with a little forethought to have a wonderful holiday and maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. 

How do you stay healthy during the holidays?

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