The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can be the most challenging for those striving to lose weight.
The abundance of cookies, rich desserts, and cocktails, combined with increased stress levels, lack of sleep, and sedentary lifestyles, leads to the perfect storm for veering off track.
Plus we often give ourselves unspoken “permission” to over-indulge. It’s the holidays, after all.
Studies vary on how much weight is gained during the holidays, but the average seems to be between 1 – 6 pounds. The trouble is that most people never take that weight off, so over the years, those pounds can really add up.
Why not make it your goal to NOT gain weight this holiday season?
Here are 10 tips to help you achieve that goal:
1. Sanitize your environment! Stop bringing junk food, sweets, cheese trays and candy into your house, your office, your car, or wherever you hang out. Be kind to yourself by avoiding a mental and physical battle over a package of cookies. If it’s at your disposal, it will most likely call your name until you devour it. But if the cookies aren’t there in the first place, you win.
2. Let healthy foods crowd out the bad ones. Plan ahead, and always have plenty of healthy foods and snacks on hand so they’re ready when you are. (Note: the key words here are PLAN AHEAD. Don’t wait until a craving hits.)
3. Pre-load. Choose a salad with low-fat dressing, vegetable soup, an apple, or simply a big glass of water before each meal. Pre-loading has been shown to reduce the number of calories eaten overall during a meal. Consuming foods low in calorie-density when you’re the hungriest means you’re likely to eat more of them; plus pre-loading allows time for your satiety hormones to kick in.
4. Front-load your calories by eating more food earlier in the day, and less as the day goes on. Because of our circadian rhythms, age, metabolism, and other factors, food eaten at night, especially after 7:00 pm, is more fattening than the exact food eaten earlier in the day.
5. Parties and Family Gatherings. Know what you’re going to eat before you head over to Aunt Dorothy’s house. Bring a crock pot of soup, a casserole, a salad, and/or a dessert that fits a healthy lifestyle, and perhaps eat a little something at home before you leave so you won’t be famished later.
6. Skipping certain events is OK! If a gathering is going to be too stressful or too tempting, it’s OK to say no. Everyone is busy this time of year. Even though you’d LOVE to attend the cookie exchange, it’s fine to say you have a prior commitment.
7. Watch out for those added oils! Oils are 100% pure liquid fat which contain 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per TBSP. Added oils are BIG diet busters, as well as health busters. Beware of the myriad of foods prepared with added oils, and remember that restaurant foods are loaded with oils too. Just 3 TBS per day can easily add up to 3 pounds of weight per month.
8. Don’t drink your calories. Sugary beverages such as sodas, holiday punch, sweet teas, and lattes are one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. Make water your first beverage choice, followed by green and herbal teas. If you miss the ‘fizziness’ of pop, try some carbonated water with just a bit of cranberry or other fruit juice.
9. Move. So often meals around the holidays mean that you eat a ton of food and then go watch the game or sit around for a few hours after. This season make a commitment to get up and move! Take a walk in the morning, go for a family walk after a meal. Go play a game of touch football with your friends, go sledding or ice skating.
10. Don’t make it about the food. Holidays don’t have to mean gluttonous eating – nor do they mean deprivation! Enjoy your friends and family, play games, have a sing-along, and focus on the purpose of the holiday…spending time with those you care about. You might even volunteer to help others in some way.
Remember, the holidays will be gone before you know it. Won’t it be nice to wake up on New Year’s Day without feeling bloated and knowing that you haven’t gained one extra pound? If you still have some weight to lose, at least you haven’t added more weight that you’ll need to deal with.
By the way, if you’re planning to go on a diet in January, don’t do it. Going ON a diet means that you’re going to go OFF the diet at some point. Diets do not work and have about a 3% long-term success rate.
Instead, sign up for my class on “Safe, Permanent Weight Loss Through Plant-Based Nutrition.” It’s the last “diet” you’ll ever need. The online class will be released on Dec. 16, 2020. I’ll send the link when it’s released, or you can always find it by clicking the COURSES tab on my website.
In the meantime, check out this FREE webinar: 3 Reasons Dieters Regain the Weight
Need a great stocking stuffer? How about a signed copy of The “Plan A” Diet? Click here for more info.