Avoiding Weight Gain During the Holidays
Pay Attention: When eating, concentrate on each bite. By eating on the go or paying attention to other things such as the TV or computer, you probably aren’t realizing how many calories you’re taking in. By focusing on the food you are eating you will be able to eat less and feel fuller quicker.
- Are you really hungry?
- Did you have enough to drink? If not have a glass of water or a cup of tea and wait 20 minutes
Exercise: Though the cold weather and dark nights makes exercising harder, there are plenty of indoor activities that you can do. Yoga is a great form of exercise that can be tailored to most people’s physical ability. This is a great exercise that can often lead to better digestion, brings more mindfulness to yourself, as well as being a good de-stressor. Twenty minutes of activity can help you feel more energetic and allows your body to handle stressful situations better.
Stay on Schedule: Make sure you are not skipping meals. Skipping meals will slow down your metabolism as well as make you overeat later on. Make sure to have something to eat every 4-5 hours, this will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced which gives you more energy, helps the effectiveness of your immune system and helps you to feel full.
** Do not skip meals in order to “save” calories for one large meal. By doing this, you will be starving yourself throughout the day which will lead to you overeating. If you plan on going spout at night be mindful of what you are eating throughout the day but make sure you are eating.
Get Enough Sleep: Adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. By not getting enough sleep your energy levels aren’t just decreased but also the hormone leptin is decreased, which is your “I’m full” hormone. By decreasing this hormone, you can expect an increase in hunger.
Keep a Food Journal and do Weekly Weigh Ins: One of the most successful proven ways to lose weight and keep it off is by writing down everything you eat and drink. Though this may seem like a painstaking idea, if you seriously want to lose weight, this is how it can be done. Most people focus on what they eat at meals when doing a food recall, forgetting about the little snacks throughout the day. The benefits of a food journal is looking at all the little bite size snacks you may have as well as all those liquid calories you may be taking in. Also, you should make a date with your scale on the same day, same time once a week. This will help you to stay aware of any changes.
Watch out for liquid calories. A lot of coffee shops have specialty drinks during the holiday season which consist of hundreds of calories. Beware of these hidden calories and use those drinks as a treat not as a daily option.
Ex: Starbucks 12 oz Peppermint Hot Chocolate(2% milk and whipped cream)- 350 calories, 47g of sugar, 53g of carbohydrates, 13g total fat
Focus on the Company You’re With: When you are at holiday parties focus more on socializing with the people around you. The best way to control your food intake is by walking around and talking to people. By doing this you will do a better job at avoiding the temptations of holiday treats without anyone catching onto your alternative motives.
Beware of Emotional Eating: Being upset, anxious, or angry are all feelings that are connected with binge eating. If you feel these emotions and you find yourself eating chances are you are trying to change the way you feel with food. There is a reason why most of us crave carbohydrates and sugary foods when we are upset. These foods release the chemical dopamine which is linked to your pleasure feelings. By eating more of these foods you start to momentarily feel a bit better, however, you still are not confronting the problem. By masking the problem with food you put yourself at risk for weight gain until you confront the issue. One of the easiest concepts but hardest things to do is realize that you are the only person that can change the way you feel. You deserve to be happy. Happiness is the key to getting the rest of your body healthy.
Ways to tell if you are emotionally eating: Are you craving a particular food? If the answer is yes you are probably emotionally eating. When a person is actually hungry for food they aren’t too particular on what they will be eating. After you finish eating are you going to feel guilty about what you just ate? If the answer is yes then you are also probably eating emotionally.
1 cup baby carrots, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 sliced cucumber, 1 bell pepper, 2 cups chopped spinach (all can be served as a snack with 1 Tbsp low-calorie dressing), 1 apple, 1 orange, 6 oz non-fat Greek yogurt plain with some fresh fruit or 23 almonds or any 1 serving for nuts.
Treat yourself during this holiday season, just don’t overdo it. Never be your own taster!