With these seven strategies on how to not gain weight during the holidays, you can have a healthier and happier Christmas and New Year!
How to Not Gain Weight in 7 Ways This Holiday Season
1. Get Your Numbers First
One of the steps on how to not gain weight is to know your numbers. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How much do you weigh now?
- What is your basal metabolic rate?
- With your size and height, what’s the ideal calorie intake?
- What is your waist circumference?
- Are you taking care of breastfed babies or going through a pregnancy?
- Do you have health issues like hypothyroidism or diabetes?
- Are you experiencing menopause?
What is basal metabolic rate? It is the amount of energy you need to burn calories at rest.
You can plan your meals and portion size better when you know the answer to these questions. It also helps you gauge if you’re eating more than you should.
You can also get help from professionals, such as a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Experts like LIV Health can provide a customized eating and exercise plan for the holidays.
2. Don’t Skip the Workout
Skipping a day or two (or even a week) of exercise may not mean losing muscle mass. It may be even better for your health.
The problem is when you make it a habit. Avoiding any workout routine for two weeks or more can affect your aerobic conditioning.
You may find an easy run an uphill climb. You feel tired more frequently.
Fatigue and body and mental stress may only stop you from achieving weight loss. Worse, they may lead to weight gain as you become more sedentary.
The holidays are busy times. When it comes to your exercise, you need to be smart.
One option is to do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In this workout routine, you perform an exercise to your maximum ability for a few seconds.
Studies showed it could burn calories in a short time. You also continuously burn at rest, so you don’t need to do this every day.
You can also apply the same principles to your favorite workout plans such as strength training.
If you hate working out during the holidays, there’s another tip to prevent weight gain—increase your physical activity.
Walk your way toward the bus or enjoy a stroll in the park. Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you’re going only a few floors up.
3. Avoid Binging
You can learn how to not gain weight by not binging. Binging can happen in two ways:
- You eat less today to save your calories later.
- You consume as many holiday meals as you like for days.
When you’re fasting or eating less than you should, your body goes through many changes. Your blood sugar levels drop, for instance.
These changes can make you feel hungrier. By the time you reach the main affair, you forget about your ideal number of calories.
Hunger can also result in poor food choices. You may eat a lot of high-calorie foods such as junk food.
You end up consuming too many carbs and sugar. Before you know it, you’re packing the pounds.
You can learn how to stop gaining weight by practicing mindful eating. Pay attention to the food on your plate.
You may not have to eat on your schedule but consider eating better non-holiday meals. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and other kinds of food rich in fiber and protein.
For instance, for late brunch, you can have a berry smoothie with Greek yogurt, green vegetables, and chia seeds.
For a simpler and faster breakfast option, there’s whole-grain toast with sugar-free peanut butter. You may also swap white potatoes with sweet potatoes.
These choices nourish your body with nutrients, but they don’t leave you hungry. You are less likely to eat whatever you want during parties.
4. Choose Your Holiday Food Wisely
You can also learn how to stop weight gain by being picky with holiday food. More often than not, you don’t like everything you see on the spread.
Wouldn’t it better to trade your ice cream with a healthier dessert like a fruit parfait? How about exchanging your high-calorie beverages with ginger ale or apple cider?
If you can’t help it, consider eating less. Eat a spoonful of the stuffing instead of a half-plate.
You can also swap your favorites with something healthier. As an example, eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
These are little changes to your eating habits that count toward better nutrition, even during the holidays.
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5. Return to Your Healthy Habits Immediately
It’s understandable. Weight loss and weight maintenance are two difficult tasks to tick off your list during the holidays.
Don’t beat yourself up if you slack from your eating habits or a healthy lifestyle. What matters more is you’re bouncing back.
One tip of how to not gain weight anymore is to get back to your healthy routine as soon as you can. It doesn’t have to be drastic.
You may reduce your parties with friends or even your alcohol intake. Perhaps you can eat healthy in two of your three large meals.
You can also go back to working out. You may exercise 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 in the evening.
6. Get Some Sleep
Many studies already show a connection between sleep deprivation and obesity. One of these is the 2012 research in the American Journal of Human Biology.
Based on their review of existing articles, lack of sleep can deregulate appetite. It may increase the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
The inability to lose weight isn’t the only issue with sleep deprivation. Obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases like heart disorders.
Make your sleeping time non-negotiable. Strive to sleep at least seven to nine hours a day.
7. Beat the Stress
Holiday stress is real. Shopping, working, entertaining guests—the list of to-do’s goes on.
That could make losing weight difficult, if not impossible. Stress can change your eating patterns.
You may be less receptive to hunger cues, so you don’t eat enough. It can affect your levels of nutrients.
Your body may also go into a starvation mode. It thinks you’re in a state of famine.
When it happens, the body tries to hold its reserves. It can mean converting excess blood sugar into fat.
Meanwhile, some people may cope with stress by eating. Eating for them may be a relaxing and fun activity.
To learn how to prevent weight gain is to know how to reduce your stress. These may include doing meditation, exercising, or listening to slow music.
The average weight gain during the holidays is around 1.3 pounds. It is not much, but it’s significant.
It can take as long as five months to get back in shape. This holiday season, it’s okay to drink and be merry.
Just don’t forget these tips about how to not gain weight. Your body will thank you for it later.
How do you avoid holiday weight gain? Share your tips in the comments section below!