Even if you have iron willpower, the holidays are challenging when it comes to self-control and avoiding weight gain. In fact, the average American will gain between 1 and 7 pounds during the six-week span between Thanksgiving and New Years! In the name of holiday cheer + with wellness in mind, we want to arm you with a few healthy holiday habits to help you maintain + enjoy the festivities without stress.
High-calorie and sugar-loaded drinks such as hot chocolate and eggnog are very popular through the holidays. So are alcoholic beverages that offer little to no nutritional value. Not only does alcohol add empty calories, but it lowers your inhibitions and self-control which can lead to more indulging than you originally planned! These indulgences in moderation won’t hurt, but the calories you drink combined with all that food can add up quickly.
Instead of grabbing the first thing that comes to mind when you enter the party, think about which drink is really going to hit the spot. Savoring a drink you truly want will leave you more satisfied and less likely to reach for another without thinking! You may also plan the nights that you will be indulging in alcohol and skip the nights that are not all that festive.
Sipping on a glass of water in between holiday beverages will also help you consume less while keeping you hydrated! This is especially important if you’re drinking alcohol and eating high-sodium foods.
Don’t Skip Meals
It’s easy to think in terms of “saving calories”, but that habit will do just about everything but help! According to the National Weight Control Registry, over 75% of those successful in maintaining lost weight eat breakfast, and those who skip meals are more likely to overindulge later and feel less in control when faced with high-calorie options!
Instead of skipping meals to bank calories for later, plan your meals according to the activities you have planned for that day! If you’ve got a dinner party, plan a light but balanced breakfast, a lunch with fiber and lean protein, and a healthy snack right like a TLS Shake before you head out the door. Plus, planning your meals allows you to take your CORE to curb cravings all night long!
Showing up feeling satisfied instead of starving will help you decide what you really want to indulge on, and can help you say no when you know you’ve had enough for one night.
Family visits, travel, vacations, and holiday parties fill the holiday season. For most of us, that means our stress levels go through the roof! Unfortunately, that means the level of cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, in our blood rises right along with it. This can cause an increase in stored belly fat, reduced self-control, and increased cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.
If holiday deadlines, travel plans, and party planning are stressing you out, take a few moments to step away. Try finding a quiet space to do simple tasks such as breathing, stretching, take a relaxing walk, or doing yoga. These can give you time to take your TLS ACTS to manage stress-related side effects, keep cortisol levels down, and avoid emotional eating!
Keep a Schedule
Food isn’t the only factor at play when talking about holiday weight gain. Your schedule has probably been disrupted and you want to take time to catch up with the family you may not see that often, so you’ll probably find yourself less active than usual. Sitting on the couch watching sports and catching up with family is a common holiday tradition, but inactivity coupled with heavy holiday foods can mean you’ll be carrying a few excess pounds with you when you leave.
Did you know that ninety percent of National Weight Control Registry participants successful in maintaining weight loss exercise on average 1 hour a day? While an hour is best, getting even 20-30 minutes of exercise in the morning will ensure you get your daily workout, rev your metabolism, and make you more active throughout the day! Plus, the schedule will help to create a long-lasting healthy habit that can double the odds of keeping the weight off.
Portion Sizes Matter
It’s not just what you eat, but how much you eat that makes a difference. Serving sizes have increased significantly over the years, and so have plate sizes! This can make it more difficult to practice self-control and determine how much you should be putting on your plate, especially when you’re looking at heavier-than-normal dishes that you may have never tried before!
Try choosing a smaller salad plate instead of the larger dinner size, but not just because oversized servings won’t fit! Choosing smaller plates can actually make you feel fuller with less food because we feel like there’s plenty of food on our plate – and that’s usually the case. Be sure to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, leaving just half for meat and starchy foods.
You can also control portion sizes by making your dish portions smaller! Whether you’re hosting the entire party or simply bringing a dish, try cutting it into smaller sizes or creating smaller versions (i.e. cake pops instead of cupcakes). Not only will you + guests be tempted to eat less, but you’ll be able to sample more without going overboard!
What tips do you have for self-control over the holidays? Let us know in the comments!