- Tara Perverseff
Want to avoid the holiday weight gain? Do these things...
Let's be honest, you might not eat sugar cookies in July, but come late November and into December, it's tradition so you need to eat those cookies. Right? You might think: January is close enough, I'll change my habits then. But you know what? You can enjoy the holidays, parties and all, without that holiday weight gain. Of course with my primary focus on preventing and/or reducing inflammation in the body, the tips here are not only designed to help prevent that holiday weight gain, but also to keep inflammation levels in check. If you wake up feeling puffy, those pants don't fit, rings are too tight, and you are really tired after a night of eating and drinking, that is inflammation, my friend. You will not gain 10 pounds overnight, but with inflammation "burning" you might feel like you did.
Now, if after you read these tips you think "that's not going to do anything" or "that's too hard" or "I'm too busy", then I would encourage you to start with ONE thing. For example, one of the items on here is to avoid processed foods including things in a bag, box or with a barcode (the "BBB). Just that alone can have a profound impact on how you feel and help to avoid the holiday weight gain. Imagine if you consistently did this for a week, a month, or 3 months--those little actions will add up. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to start and decide what you want to be consistent with.
How can you move though the holidays avoiding that inevitable weight gain? Try doing some of these things:
Prioritize protein: Holiday meals are often high in carbs and low in protein. It's much easier to eat an entire plate of stuffing than a plate of turkey or beef. Making sure you eat enough protein can help to reduce your overall caloric intake because protein is more satiating and helps you feel fuller longer. It can support your metabolism and is much harder to overeat than those Christmas cookies.
Choose savory over sweet: If you eat the meat and cheese (if you tolerate dairy) before the cookies and crackers, you'll be better able to prevent that blood sugar spike after you eat. If you can avoid the sweet as much as possible, that will help prevent that added inflammation.
Don't skip those workouts: Holidays are a busy time of year and if we stay up late on a Friday night, we might be less likely to want to get up to do our regular Saturday morning workout. Movement helps to prevent holiday stress as well, so if those family members are driving you crazy, all the more reason to tell everyone you are heading out for a walk or to the gym! Even better, find a friend or accountability partner. Face time a friend and do a workout together, that way, you are accountable to yourself and to a partner.
Avoid processed foods: If it comes in a bag, box or a barcode, beware! While I recommend this not only during the holidays but as a regular eating practice, avoiding those processed and highly palatable foods at this time of year can help prevent weight gain and keep inflammation at bay. Opt for whole foods as much as you can. This is particularly important at this time of year as it's often those processed foods we tend to overeat.
Define your non-negotiables: If you normally don't eat gluten, dairy or sugar, or you don't have more than 1 glass of wine regularly, then keep that commitment to yourself at this time of year. Other good non-negotiables are making sure you keep up with your movement and exercise. This doesn't mean you have no flexibility, rather you are keeping a commitment to yourself. Think of it as a form of self-care and self-respect.
Snack wisely: When there are boxes of chocolate in the pantry, cookies on the counter and left over pie in the fridge, having a bite here and there can add up. I am not saying not to have these things, but if you find your hand in the cookie jar more than the fruit bowl or veggie tray, this can be a major contributor to that holiday weight gain.
Think about how you want to feel: How you want to feel coming out of 2022 and into 2023 depends partly on what you do now.
Walk after a meal: Walking is a great way to get in some movement and walking after a meal in particular helps to lower your blood sugar spike. Take a friend or family member with you!
Remember, it's not all or nothing. Perfection is not the only outcome. And yes, now might not be the best time to commit to changes because it's hard, but if not now, then when?