Holidays are a time for family, friends, and food. Unfortunately, they are the worst time of year for putting on pounds too. Some people start gaining weight as early as October, with Halloween candy. If you want to avoid weight gain during the holiday season, here are 5 easy ways to avoid holiday weight gain so you can maintain your health.
5 Easy Ways To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
1. Choose Healthier Foods and Drinks
The problem with traditional holiday foods is they are high in sugar and carbs making them unhealthy and fattening.
When you are surrounded by comfort foods like stuffing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, sauces, bread, cookies, pies, and sweet treats it can be hard to limit yourself.
The key to keeping yourself in check is not to deny yourself. Eat the foods you want to eat, but limit them and practice healthy control for weight management.
Healthy and Unhealthy Foods
Sometimes knowing what is and isn't good for you can be confusing. There are so many different opinions when it comes to diet.
If you want to stay healthy and avoid weight gain during the holidays, it's important to know which foods are good for you and which ones to avoid entirely.
Focus on foods that allow you to eat more yet stay within a certain caloric limit. This can be easier if you remember to eat more foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats and avoid or limit sugary foods.
Meat Equals Protein
Chicken and turkey are commonly served on holidays so that you can enjoy more of these. When people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories. This works on a meal-to-meal basis as well as a long-term reduction in daily calorie consumption if the body is forced to use proteins for fuel instead of glucose.
Just pay attention to how it's cooked so you can avoid meat that is fried as well as fatty meats like ham.
Fruits and Vegetables
Another way to keep your meals healthy this holiday season is by focusing on fruits and vegetables. Many people don't know how to prepare veggies that taste good. But if you add some spices or explore other cooking methods, like roasting them, they will keep your calories low.
When it comes to sweets, try and opt for fruit-based desserts at least. Apple pie is not necessarily a health-food, but it's a little bit healthier than chocolate-based cakes or cookies–as long as your portions stay in check. Moderation is the key to life and weight management.
Avoid Sugary Foods
The first thing you should do is limit your sugary foods from October through January. This includes desserts, candy, and chocolate that are high in sugar. Don't entirely blackout these items, but rather eat them very lightly so they don't add unnecessary weight gain.
Pay Attention to Carb-Loaded Sides
Heavier carb-loaded sides should be eaten very conservatively. For the most part, you will find these in hearty casseroles or mashed potatoes with gravy. Eat a small amount of these with your meat of choice.
Steer Clear of High-Calorie Drinks
If you plan on drinking alcohol, keep it light. Drinks like sodas or even worse, cocktails can contain high-calorie ingredients and harmful chemicals.
Sugary cocktails like daiquiris, mojitos, mai tais, or cocktails that include fruit juice and sugary mixers are the worst. Many wine coolers and liqueurs can also be high in sugar and chemicals. Opt for low-sugar options for these.
Beer is high in carbs and some studies show that regularly consuming beer can lead to belly fat. There's a reason it's referred to as ‘beer gut'!
Choose Healthier Alcohol to Drink
Red wine has a high Resveratrol, a polyphenol compound with antioxidant properties. White wine doesn't have this benefit, but champagne has less sugar than you think. 4 ounces of champagne has only 1 gram of carbs and zero grams of sugar.
If you want to drink spirits, opt for tequila and Mezcal. These are derived from the agave plant and are gluten and sugar-free, and low in carbohydrates. Unflavored vodka, gin, whiskey and rum are also lower in carbs than other beverages, contain no sugar, and are gluten-free.
Healthiest Mixers for Cocktails
Fresh-squeezed lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange juice are your best choices. Also, club soda and seltzer are good. Add some muddled herbs like ginger, mint, basil, and some fresh fruit and veggies for garnish.
2. Break Free From Peer Pressure
The holidays are a season to celebrate with family and friends. But it can also be difficult when you're surrounded by people who think they know what's best for you. Peer pressure can lead you astray.
If the people around you keep pushing food or want you to eat more than you should, it's easy to cave in. If you're pushed to eat more, try to avoid the conversation in the first place.
How to Stay in Control
If possible and you have the option, fix your own plate. Have some of everything, but just keep your portions reasonable, especially when it comes to carbs and sweets.
If you announce you are dieting or watching your calorie consumption, people may respond by telling you how hard they worked on the food, and it's just for this one holiday, and so on. These can be annoying conversations, so try to avoid them if you can.
When others try to pressure you into eating more than you want to, it's much easier just to go along with them until they stop bothering you about it. Don't eat as much as you tell them you're going to if that's what is needed to avoid holiday weight gain.
Sometimes family can get disturbed when they hear you are dieting or watching your weight, especially at holiday parties. It's not always because they put a bunch of work into it, but rather because they know it's not good for them either!
Be your own best friend and stay on track to help prevent unwanted weight gain.
3. Practice Moderation
If you are a guest and not in control of what you eat, or you can't overcome pressure from others, you can still eat well during the holiday season. Just take smaller portions, and don't overdo it. Practice moderation.
One of the key reasons people tend to fail at weight loss is that they get too strict with themselves. They don't have the mental strength to limit themselves. So they cheat a lot instead of just having a little bit.
It can be hard to stick with your diet during the holidays. All your friends and family will be eating good food and drinks, and you don't want to feel left out. But if you practice moderation, select healthier options, you won't binge as much.
Tips for Staying on Track
You don't have to avoid eating the foods you want during holidays, but you do need to be smart about it. Decide on a sampling strategy and eat a little bit of everything. By the end of it you'll likely feel pretty full, and won't really want to eat more.
If you're going to have a Thanksgiving dinner with your family, it's important to think about what you'll eat on the day of the holiday. You don't want to eat too much or too little before dinner. Aim to have a light breakfast and lunch so you'll be hungry for the Thanksgiving feast.
Don't worry about eating a little more in one single day. It's not what you do once in a while that determines your weight. Practice the 51% rule which is sticking to your diet 51% of the time. It means the majority of the time you stick with habits that are supportive of your health.
So limit heavy eating to one day and aim to eat lighter in the days surrounding the holiday itself. As long as you're eating in moderation, you will be okay. It won't be the end of the world if you eat more for one day, but it will be more difficult if you go overboard for many days at a time.
4. Don't Wait to Start Exercising
Get Ahead of the New Year Gym Crowd
If you wait until the new year, the gym will be packed. So start now during the holiday season when gyms tend to be a bit sparse. Don't make excuses and let months fly by wasted. Just begin getting into the routine of working out now to help keep you on track.
Try to get your gym routine down ahead of the crowd. That way when all the new people show up in January, you won't have to worry about anything except a more crowded gym.
And if the gym just isn't your thing, start practicing yoga at home. You don't need to buy any expensive equipment or even join a studio. This is one of the reasons why yoga as evolved as a favorite type of exercise.
Starting an exercise routine can be hard. But don't worry about making it perfect at first. Just start being active and making better nutrition choices.
5. Ayurveda's Magic Tonic to Help You Lose Weight
The most popular Ayurvedic herbal formula is Triphala, and for good reason. It can not only help you lose weight, it has many other health benefits like:
- Improving digestion
- Removing excess mucus
- Improving liver function
- Improving circulation
- Purifying the blood
- Strengthening the nervous system
- Boosting immunity
- Supporting bowel function
Triphala translates to ‘three fruits' in Sanskrit because it is made from equal parts of:
This tonic can be a game changer when it comes to helping you lose and maintain weight. Here's how:
It Can Help You Get Rid of Bloating
Triphala is a holy grail of natural medicine, not only can it help you go to the bathroom but also clear your stomach by drawing water from your body into its intestines so that stool will be softer. This means two things: 1) You'll relieve bloating and 2) Help prevent further buildup in weight due to fluid retention!
Triphala Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
The presence of phytochemicals in Bibhitaki can lower blood sugar levels which is good for people with diabetes. A study done in 2007 found that Triphala has this effect on insulin spikes after consuming high carbohydrate or sugary foods, preventing fat storage and leading to weight loss!
It Can Help Reduce Belly Fat
Triphala can help fight against fat cells my preventing the accumulation and storage of abdominal fat known as visceral adipose tissue (VAT).
Triphala is Loaded with Antioxidants
Triphala has a high source of polyphenols (antioxidants) to fight free radicals (the molecules responsible for causing cell damage and many illnesses.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, antioxidants can increase fat burning and boost metabolism by helping you get rid of the toxins produced by your fat cells. This, in turn, can make you lose weight.