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Tools for battling holiday weight gain

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Gaining weight during the holiday season has unfortunately been around almost as long as the holidays themselves. With the colder (maybe) weather, unlimited access to repetitive live streaming of the traditional holiday movies, and planning-induced stress, it is no shock as to why the chances for weight gain around the holidays exist.

Keep these 9 essential tips in mind this season:

1.  Plan your plate

While attending a holiday buffet or potluck, coming in with a strategy is key. Make sure the plate size is appropriate, scope out the options before loading up, and aim to have half your plate fruits and vegetables, ¼ carbohydrate, and ¼ protein. Be intentional with your eating decisions.

2.  Be active

Holidays can be a stressful time; from end of the year work reports to spending time with family, moving around can provide stress relief and burn calories at the same time! Activity and stress relief are important parts to self-care. Encouraging others to get moving with you can be a fun experience, too.

3.  Don't sit eye to eye with food

Eating begins with the eyes and nose; while attending a buffet style event, be sure to sit with your back to the food and farther away from it to reduce the desire for thirds, fourths, fifths, and so on. Statistically, 2/3 of most of us are unable to stop eating with food in front of us, so removing the temptation will help with self-control.

4.  Monitor holiday drinks

Pumpkin spice lattes, eggnog, cider, hot chocolate (spiked or not) can add extra calories to your day; be wise with your choices and don't forget about water. When it comes to adult beverages, staggering a glass of water in between these drinks will increase hydration and potentially reduce the associated consequences/symptoms the following day.

5.  Eat a balanced snack before outings

An empty stomach + hanger is a recipe for disaster; never go to the store hungry. Eat a balanced snack at home prior to attending events or running errands to reduce unhealthy choices. Balanced = carbohydrate + protein and/or fat. Some examples would be a piece of fruit and nut butter, a serving of crackers and cheese, or dried fruit and almonds.

6.  Environment control

Avoid the temptation to stock up on high calorie, low quality food items. Keeping the easier options towards the front of the fridge or pantry helps, too. Managing your environment can really pay off.

7.  Recipe modifications

Swapping ingredients in recipes can decrease the calories in the dish and may be a fun way to elevate traditional holiday foods to a more goal-friendly level. You can still enjoy the holiday classics! Examples of modifications are using less butter or sugar in a baked good. If you are attending a holiday party where queso and dips may be abundant, bringing an option like homemade hummus could be an option.  

8.  Surround yourself with support

Recruiting people in your life to be both your cheering section and brick wall can keep you accountable to your goals.  Vocalizing your concerns to your support system and expressing feelings can add strength to your brigade.

9.  Celebrate small victories

Nothing is too small to recognize when moving forward towards your goal!

Tips adapted from Today's Dietitian magazine

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