As the holidays approach, the joy and anticipation of the season might be overshadowed by feelings of concern or worry—especially for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a recent weight loss. That’s because food and beverages tend to be at the center of celebratory gatherings with friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors—and as a result, we often allow ourselves more space to overindulge. In addition, the stress of holiday shopping, celebrating, meal preparations, and more can impact your hormones, ability to sleep, and your normal workout routine—all of which can affect your weight.
The good news is that with ample planning and the right mindset, you can stay healthy and happy this holiday season. Here are our True You Weight Loss tips for managing a healthy weight during this busy time of year—all while still enjoying the spirit of the season.
1) Maintain Your Healthy Eating Habits
During the holidays, it is important to stay on track with your meal routine, trying not to use parties and get-togethers as excuses to eat things you would normally limit from your diet. While no foods are “off-limits” in our True You Weight Loss program (we believe everything can be enjoyed in moderation!), the holidays aren’t a blank check to write off your healthy eating habits. Try to eat at roughly the same times every day, and continue to watch your portion sizes, especially while attending holiday gatherings and group meals. When it’s time to eat, don’t get distracted with the merriment—stay focused on how much food you are putting onto your plate, and avoid returning for seconds. Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a healthy snack at home before attending a gathering or dinner party so you will be less likely to overindulge.
2) Focus on Physical Activity
Even as your daily agenda fills up with holiday engagements, errands, and events, it’s important to stay active. At a minimum, aim for the popular 10,000 steps a day goal. Committing to a morning workout routine can also be helpful—getting your activity in before you get distracted by the days’ events. If you’re out running errands, park far away or walk a few extra laps around the mall or parking lot. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym, get creative at home. You can easily work in a 10-minute strength training video, jump rope, or do some squats and lunges.
3) Avoid or Limit Alcohol
At many holiday gatherings, the bar can be a focal point. With a drink in hand, party goers sometimes feel better equipped to loosen up and socialize. However, the alcoholic beverage can be a major offender when it comes to maintaining your weight goals. Cocktails can fill your body with empty calories and reduce your inhibitions, encouraging you to eat and drink more than you typically would. Additionally, alcoholic mixed drinks and sweeter wines contain a lot of sugar. When you consume more sugar, your body will create more insulin to remove it from your blood and cells. However, your body will only burn fat when it senses your insulin level is dropping, not rising. Plus, alcohol can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, which can have a negative impact on your weight loss goals. Stick to water or non-alcoholic, low-calorie drinks instead.
4) Place the Focus on Family & Friends
Instead of allowing the buffet table to steal all of your attention, try retraining your brain during holiday gatherings. Focus on the invaluable family time and social time with friends, instead of focusing on the food. Allow yourself to be absorbed into conversation and discussion, rather than appetizers and desserts. By talking and socializing more, you will likely find that you eat and drink less, and even have a better time overall.
5) Start New, Healthier Traditions
When catching up with friends and loved ones over the holidays, we often default to food—big meals at home, restaurant reservations, and coffee dates that include high-calorie lattes and baked goods. However, starting new and healthier traditions together can often be just as enjoyable, while supporting your weight loss goals. For example, you can attend a holiday concert or show, walk around your community to enjoy holiday lights and decorations, or attend a yoga class together. Ice skating and bowling can also be fun group activities that incorporate socialization, movement, and physical activity.
True You Weight Loss wants you to remember that the holidays are meant to be fun! While it can be easy to let the stress get to you and have a negative impact on your weight loss goals, you can take control of your routine and habits—and choose to enjoy the season and stay healthy at the same time.
From all of us at True You Weight Loss, we hope you enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season!