Most of us gain weight over the holiday season. Of course we do, since the time between October (Halloween) and January (New Year’s Eve) is filled with candy, endless parties, treats, busy schedules and eating out more often. However, do you know exactly how much you gain over the holidays? Have you ever weighed yourself in October and then again in January to see the actual number. I’m not trying to discourage anyone. I’m saying that we need to be aware and this is the first and most important way to halt holiday weight gain.
In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine participants were weighed at various times around the holidays to see the difference in perceived weight gain verses actual. Most participants thought they had gained 2-4 pounds more than what they actually had! It also is interesting to note that participants who began at a healthy weight gained the least amount of weight and participants who were overweight gained the most. Another interesting factor is that the participants who made an effort to be more active during this time lost the most weight or gained the least amount.
Maybe we don’t gain the 5-10lbs that most people claim to. But based on the study we do gain an average of 0.8lbs and 3.4lbs over the course of these months. This is shown to accumulate from year to year. So how can we halt this steady accumulation of fat?
5 Tips to Halt this Holiday Weight Gain
- The most important thing that we can do is to be aware. We must be aware that we most likely will gain weight during the holiday season unless we make a big effort not to.
- Find out what your triggers are. Do you get too busy to cook at home and eat out more during this time? Do you overeat at parties when the food is buffet style? Do you overindulge in sweets? Please click this link for some tips to combat these common triggers.
- Have a plan! Have a meal plan for the days you eat at home. You can control breakfast and lunch even if you have to go to that party at night. You can get in a workout earlier in the day before you go out to eat with friends that night. Schedule in your workouts for the whole month. Then they are on the calendar. If you need to rearrange them you can but at least there is a plan. I encourage my clients to sign up for personal training or classes every month at the beginning of the month so that they stay on track.
- Psyche yourself up before going to a party. Repeat mantras such as “I will pick all healthy items and fill my plate only once.” “I will only have a small piece of my favorite dessert and then I’ll pass on all the rest.” “I will only have one glass of wine at dinner and then I’ll drink sparkling water with lime.”
- Do not beat yourself up when you have a tough time. Look at what happened. What can you change? How can you do things different? You will do better next time.
Remember to enjoy this time. But also remember that most wonderful aspects of the holidays are the more than just the items on the menu. It’s the time with family and friends, the joy of giving, the snow, the songs, the lights, the kids excitement.