8 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays

Health & Wellness on 11.26.12
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Photo Credit: Dan Costin/ Creative Commons

It can be a challenge to avoid gaining a few extra pounds during the holiday season. There’s usually less time to exercise and many more opportunities to eat calorie packed foods.  Scientists have shown there's evidence behind the expression "a moment on the lips leading to a lifetime on the hips".  Make a few small changes now and there will be less pressure to spend the first month of 2013 living in the gym.

1. Limit your alcohol consumption.  Calories go in a lot faster when you drink them. Not only does alcohol tend to encourage you to eat more, but also packs a lot of calories itself – especially creamy holiday beverages like eggnog.

2. Eat before the party. Have a small snack like soup and salad before the party so you’ll be less likely to inhale the heavy appetizers. Skipping meals earlier in the day only sets you up for overeating later.

3. Short bursts of activity.  Don’t let not getting to the gym stop you from regular exercise. Dedicate at least 10 minutes of physical activity that can get your heart rate up, like climbing stairs or working on your planks.

4. Outsmart the buffet.  Fill your plate with the healthiest options first, such as vegetables and salad. Take a small bite or two of rich dishes like truffled mashed potatoes and chocolate cake.

5. Get back on the horse. If you overdo the eating and drinking at one event, get right back on the wagon the next day. It’s a lot easier to recover from one night of overindulgence than 4 weeks of it.

6. Chew slowly.  Pay attention to what goes into your mouth and savor how it tastes.  It’s easy to get distracted with all the hustle of the holidays, be mindful when eating and enjoy all of the festivities. 

7. Stay hydrated. Not only is it helpful to drink a glass of water in between each cocktail, but it also prevents weight gain to stay hydrated throughout the day. Keep a large, full water bottle handy in the car and another one where you spend the most time during the day. 

8. Focus on family. Remember what you value most during the holiday season. It might be connecting with family or even having time off from work. There's certainly more to celebrating holiday traditions than just the food. 

How do you take care of yourself during the holidays?

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