2020 has absolutely flown by – if you can believe it, it’s already the holiday season!
This time of year almost always gets a bad rap when it comes to health and weight management. All of those delicious seasonal treats and large traditional meals, paired with the winter weather driving us indoors, tends to lead to weight gain and New Year’s resolutions come the end of the month, but it doesn’t have to be this way!
If you’re tired of falling into the cycle of unhealthy eating and weight gain during the holidays, read on! We’ll discuss ways to cope and approach it so that you can enjoy it the way it’s meant to be without fear, guilt, or regret.
There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to the dreaded “holiday weight,” and the most obvious of those is the increased presence of food. Even the healthiest and most disciplined of us can fall victim to the sweet autumnal treats baking in the oven and the Thanksgiving turkey that only comes around once a year.
Because it’s hard to avoid these tempting treats completely, go into each party or family dinner with a plan in mind to keep your eating as controlled as possible without sacrificing your good time. Think about what you’ll eat ahead of time and what a proper portion of that would look like, and follow through once you’re there rather than “winging it.”
While control is good, being too strict can actually cause all of your well-intentioned plans this holiday season to backfire. Many people find that restricting themselves from eating the uber-tempting treats completely leads to intense cravings and a buildup of frustration until they ultimately give in and binge much more than they should.
Don’t forget to add allowances for splurges, but make sure that they are under control. One slice of pumpkin pie won’t do you in! Portion correctly and enjoy.
When paired with the increase in calories, the cold weather can wreak havoc on our fitness. We’re much less likely to want to take our outdoor runs or head to the gym when it’s so much more tempting to stay inside and cozy up next to our heaters.
As tempting as it is to forgo our physical activities, it’s absolutely crucial to continue to stay active, especially if you find yourself reaching for the treats a little more often.
Make it a goal to move your body every day, even on the days that the weather is bad. Staying indoors is no excuse – there are plenty of things that you can do to keep yourself active even from the comfort of your own home. Pull up a bodyweight workout video, get your heart pumping with a fat-burning cardio circuit, or even do a gentle yoga flow. No matter what you choose, just move! Your couch and TV will be there waiting for you when you’re done.
There’s often a lot of focus on the food during the holidays, especially if you’re actively trying to watch your weight, but shifting your focus from the food to your family is a great way to stay mindful.
Think about what you enjoy about the holidays, not what you dread. Spend more time engaging in conversation and less time hovering by the sweets table, and you’ll find that you’re able to increase your quality time without sacrificing your goals!
Healthy lifestyles depend on balance. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a holiday with a more indulgent meal if you make a point to get back to the regularly scheduled program the next day. Have your meals already prepped ahead of time so that you won’t be tempted to continue indulging after the celebration is over.
Leftovers can also be a major contributor to your holiday weight gain. You can definitely incorporate some leftovers, like the lean Thanksgiving turkey, into your healthy food prep, but avoid taking home anything that could prove tempting for you throughout the week, like the desserts and heavy casseroles.
As special as the holidays are, it can also be an extremely stressful time of the year. Stress can affect your health in a number of ways, including interrupting your sleep patterns and leading to stress eating, and neither of these things are ideal for your fitness goals.
Find healthy ways to deal with your stress so you can tackle it head-on during the holidays and not let it control you. Meditate, talk it out, or walk it out instead.
The holidays can be hard for so many reasons, so don’t let your weight be one of them! Be proactive and follow these steps to avoid having to make that dreaded New Year’s resolution at the end of it all. Be merry and enjoy!
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