The winter holidays are a time of joy, love, and togetherness! As we prepare for Christmas and the new year, it’s easy to get caught up in all the parties and celebrations. But while we enjoy all the delicious food and treats, it’s important to be mindful of our health and not let ourselves indulge too much. Don’t believe the myth that holiday weight gain is inevitable – it’s completely possible to enjoy all the festive fun without packing on extra pounds. So let’s embrace the season with open hearts and healthy habits!
Make an effort to stay active and get some exercise. Here are some ideas:
- Go for a walk: Walking is a low-impact and easy way to get some exercise. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood to see Christmas decorations, visit a nearby park, or even just a few laps around the perimeter of the shopping mall is a good start.
- Try a home workout: If you prefer to exercise at home, there are plenty of options available. You can find workouts for any fitness level on YouTube or streaming platforms, or you can try using bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups to get a full-body workout in the comfort of your living room.
- Participate in holiday activities: The holiday season is a great time to try out new activities and have some fun. Consider going sled riding, taking a ski or snowboard lesson, or building a snowman. If you live in a warm climate, maybe just hike in the forest and imagine you’re wearing snowshoes. 🙂 These activities can be a fun way to stay active and burn some extra calories.
Remember, the key is to find activities that you enjoy and that feel comfortable for you. Don’t push yourself too hard or do anything that causes pain or discomfort. The goal is to have fun and stay active, not to overexert yourself.
Talk to yourself
Stress can be a huge contributing factor to our eating habits. It is not uncommon to self-soothe by eating, in hopes of reducing our stress levels (more on this topic here). Being aware of thoughts and habits is half the battle when it comes to managing our health. If you do not want to gain weight after the get-together parties and hangouts, you can start with some self-talk about what you value about your health.
- ‘I want to be healthy.’
- ‘I will enjoy the right foods.’
- ‘I don’t want to overeat.’
- ‘I am going to feel proud of myself for choosing health this holiday season.’
Our attitude and expectations have a great deal to do with our relationship to food. Remind yourself that the best thing you can do is to fill your plate with healthy options like lean protein, leafy greens, and low carb vegetables like broccoli, avocados, spinach and green beans, that will fill your stomach with the good stuff your body needs. Avoiding junk food, doughnuts, cakes, sugary sauces, mashed potatoes, and stuffing may be hard at first, but you may be surprised that it gets easier the more you remind yourself to eat healthy.
If you learn to control portion sizes, you will also be able to control your weight accordingly. The banquet of food spread in front of you does not mean you should eat more than you would at a normal meal. This is my issue with buffets, but that’s a story for another time! You have to be conscious of how much you would normally consume and aim to eat the same amount in the gatherings you attend. It will help you to control your weight, and you will be able to enjoy the festivities to the fullest instead of feeling bloated.
It can be easy to overindulge during the holiday season, but try to be mindful of how much you are eating. Consider using a smaller plate to help you control your portions. Being aware is the big takeaway here. This is why we don’t advocate eating while talking, watching TV, doing chores, or cooking the food because it is so easy to eat unintentionally and add extra calories.
Savor sweets slowly
Furthermore, if you are a lover of sweets, you still have to keep them in mind as counting toward your caloric intake. Desserts that are the primary dish of any party, however, carry tons of calories due to sugar. We suggest eating desserts intentionally because it is rather easy to indulge on auto-pilot, which will lead to unnecessary weight gain. It is perfectly reasonable to take one or two cookies, a small piece of apple pie, or a single piece of your favorite cake. Enjoy it slowly, chewing and savoring each bite, and you will be able to enjoy your favorite dessert without worrying about packing on pounds.
Another essential item on the holiday foods list is alcohol. Alcohol is considered a primary drink in most parties or gatherings. Nevertheless, one should be well-aware that alcohol carries tons of calories that will add up in your daily consumption and can thwart your all diet plans. We’ve written a guide to drinking alcohol on a low-carb diet here, which you should read and share when you get a second.
These are just a few, tried-and-true, tips for staying trim this holiday season. We hope you and yours will have happy and healthy moments together.