How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

For many, the holidays tend to come with the unfortunate side effect of unwanted weight gain. Oftentimes, holiday gatherings are centered around food, with an abundance of starchy,  fatty and sugary options. Despite this reality, there are things you can do to prevent holiday weight gain. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays. 

Stay active. 

The holiday season tends to be very food-centric, especially in the South, so now is not the time to slack off on your fitness routine. Continue to work out at least three times a week. You don’t have to do anything too strenuous; a daily walk can suffice. Just be sure to stay consistent with regular exercise before, during and after the holidays. 

Be mindful of what you’re eating. 

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s and every observance in between, eating is a big part of holiday celebrations. In addition to hearty meals, there are all sorts of sweet treats to tempt you during this time of year – think holiday pies, Christmas cookies and the like. Make an extra effort to be mindful of what you’re eating during the holidays so you can avoid overindulgence. Reduce distractions while eating and chew slowly and thoroughly with every bite. You’ll find yourself feeling full sooner than when you scarf down a plate absent-mindedly. 

Control portion size.

During the holidays it’s not uncommon to fill your plate and go back for seconds before rounding out your meal with dessert. It goes without saying that this practice isn’t exactly ideal for avoiding holiday weight gain. Instead of piling on the plate (and the pounds), be cognizant of your portion size. If you struggle with controlling portions, use a smaller plate to limit space for food. Remember that the average stomach is about the side of a fist, so you really don’t need a whole lot of food to satisfy your hunger. 

Rethink your drinks. 

Warm ciders, hot chocolate, creamy eggnog and copious amounts of alcohol are some defining drinks of the holiday season. Avoid drinking your calories by choosing water more often than not. Limiting consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol can go a long way when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet during the holidays. 

Choose healthy snacks. 

Save the cookies for Santa and instead go for fresh fruit, nutritious nuts or low-calorie yogurt when you’re feeling a little peckish. Be mindful of your snacking and make sure you’re not reaching for a snack simply because it’s there. Don’t get in the habit of snacking when you aren’t actually hungry.