Did you step on the scale this week and think "holy crap, what have I done?" If you have, that's okay. You're not alone if you're seeing some fluctuations with your weight as you get in the midst of the holiday season. It can be a hard thing to see happening, but you're not the only one experiencing it!
From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, it's scientifically proven that we gain about 5 pounds, probably less than you were thinking, right? But, it is also proven that that 5 pounds is not a weight that comes right off. In fact, those 5 pounds you typically never lose. So, how much weight have you put on over the last couple years? Is it at least 5 pounds every year? Perhaps those 5 pounds are coming from your holiday routine!
But have no fear! I am here to help you prevent that 5 pound weight gain this year! There are 5 key areas I want you to focus on this year; let's jump in!
Self care is one of the first things we push aside during the holidays. We have so may obligations and things to do that we use the excuse that we can't make time for us to sit down and read a book or just relax. December is when a large amount of mental illnesses get diagnosed because of all the stress and anxiety that come with the holidays. This year will be different for you. I want you to look at your daily routine; do you find yourself endlessly shifting through store ads to find the best deal, or always running out to the mall to go shopping, scrolling through social media or watching every Christmas movie that ever existed but then find yourself saying you don't have enough time? If so, we've got to change somethings. You get the same 24 hours in a day that I do, you have to use them wisely. If you find that scrolling through Instagram only makes you upset, then let's set a time every night that you'll be putting your phone away. How about making time to read a book? Getting up 5 minutes earlier every morning and journaling. Make a gratitude journal. Say a prayer. Something that can help ground you every day and not make it feel like you're running around like a chicken with no head. Stress prevents us from losing weight, it raises our cortisol levels and the last priority that our body has is to lose weight. If you can de-stress nightly, get it done!
Activity is another big one that we always say we don't have time for, during the holidays and the regular times of the year. We constantly say we "don't have time" to get our butts to the gym or get moving in some way. Once again, you have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else does. Use your time wisely. What about Christmas shopping while you're on the bike? What about asking your coworker to go on a walk with you at lunch rather than watch Netflix? Can you get up and get moving every hour? Even if it's just to walk and get a drink of water? When we can get and stay active, it's a lot easier to keep the weight off during the holidays.
Stick to your Routine
When we are stressed and have a lot of things going on, it's so easy for us to ditch our routines completely because "we are too busy!". Of course we want to stay as active as we can, but there's more to routine than just that! When we are busy, it's easy for us to push off eating until later because we will be less busy then, but remember your body loves routine. When we can find a routine that we can stick to, we work best. So, if you know you have to run out the door early for an appointment, don't forget to have breakfast, pack a snack with you, make lunch and plan for dinner. If we stay on top of our eating schedule and continue to honor our hunger, you shouldn't run into times when you're feeling ravenous and eat everything in sight. Plan your meals ahead of time and stick through it! Same with sleep, get to bed at your usual times! You need your sleep to be able to perform at the top of your game. Remember 7 to 9 hours nightly is key.
Navigating the Party Spread
This is where it can all go wrong for most people! The first place I tell my clients to start is well before you get to the party. Just because you're going to a party and you're expecting some delicious food to be there, you still need to eat throughout the day leading up to it! If you skip all your meals and snack leading up to the party, you'll arrive feeling ravenous and end up eating way more than you thought you would. Start your day off normal, eat breakfast, have lunch, maybe a snack and teach the party like any other meal.
With appetizers, put what you'd like to eat on a little plate and walk away from the spread. It's easy for us to sit down, at the spread and mindlessly eat everything, but if we can portion out what we will have and walk away from the spread to eat it, we will be more mindful with how much we are eating. Grab the appetizers that have multiple food groups in them to get the most out of them, nutrient wise!
At dinner, don't feel like you need to pile everything on your plate all at once. Figure out what you'd like to have, start with the vegetables, have your protein then go with your starch last. The vegetables will provide you with fiber to help fill you up fast, the protein will keep you full and ending with the carbs will help to make sure you don't over do it! Remember, there is always left overs, so don't be afraid to pass on some things and bring it home for later.
For dessert, rather than making a sampler platter of a bunch of different options, pick one thin you're dying to have a give yourself the full size! You'll be more satisfied having the full serving, without going overboard on desserts!
Lastly, hydration is a MUST! We often bloat a lot around the holidays because we are eating more high sodium foods and drinking less water, so our bodies try to hold on to as much water as it can. To prevent that holiday bloating, your should be aiming for at least half your weight in ounces of water every day! It will help flush the excess sodium and sugar out, keeping you hydrated and minimizing the bloat factor! I know its cold out, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't stay hydrated!
So there you have it, my 5 key things you should be focusing on this year to help you prevent the holiday weight gain! Practice self care, stay hydrated, get active, keep your routine and navigate the spreads wisely!
I want to know, how do you handle the holidays? Do you go in confidently or feel panicked all the time?