7 Tips To Avoid Weight Gain During The Holiday Season

How can you avoid weight gain during holiday season?

Did you know the average American gains 7-10lbs during holiday season?

Increased stress, more travel, high calorie sugary foods, and missed workouts are all contributors to unwanted holiday weight gain. 

As a registered dietitian, one of the big questions I get asked is how to avoid the unwanted weight gain during holiday season. Here are seven tips that you can use to enter 2019 the happiest and healthiest version of you possible!

1. Manage your stress – Stress is commonly referred to as the silent killer. Your hormones play a large role in maintain your health, and holidays tend to increase stress levels for most. Cortisol is the primary hormone that can increase sugar cravings, impact your mood, memory, and waist line. 

Do mind based activities every day during holiday season to manage stress. Journal, yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises. Research shows even 5-10 minutes per day of mind based activities can reduce stress levels and improve health and body composition in adults.

2. Don’t neglect sleep – Holiday season can mean longer days, travel, which can negatively impact your sleep schedule. We’ve been told since we were kids to get our 8 hours of sleep, but no one has ever explained why.

Research shows that people who sleep less have a harder time maintaining a normal body weight and struggle more with sugar cravings compared to those who get their 7-8 hours of deep sleep per night.

Do a social media shut off one hour before bed and do not bring your phone to bed with you for deeper more restful sleep.

3. Focus on NEAT – NEAT is non exercise activity thermogenesis or more simply put, the calories we burn outside of the gym. A lot of people do not have time to get in a full workout during holiday season, and that’s OK. You can focus on increasing your NEAT to still help you burn more calories and be active. My goal for my clients is to get 10,000 steps per day whether they are in the gym or not. Simple ways to do that is:

Park further away at work, at the mall, while grocery shopping.

Go for a walk at work during your break.

Take the kids, dog, your partner for a walk after dinner to help with digestion.

Do body weight exercises at home such as squats, planks, pushups to get moving and active without a gym.

4. Supplement smart – For optimal health, the focus should always be on nutrition first, but during holiday season supplementing smart can help boost your immunity and avoid unwanted cold and flu’s. The supplements I recommend for holiday season are:

A multivitamin – to help protect your body from cold and flu

Omega 3 fish oil – helps your body fight stress and inflammation

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin that most Michiganders are lacking due to limited exposure

5. Get fiber – Holiday season brings with it sugary treats which can negatively impact your energy and blood sugar levels. This holiday season be sure to include ample high fiber foods in your diet to avoid those sugar crashes and keep you feeling and performing your best. Some high fiber foods are:

Berries

Nuts

Seeds

Beans

Avocado

6. Limit alcohol – Holiday season comes with parties and the occasional alcoholic beverage. I never tell my clients they can’t enjoy an alcoholic beverage, but keeping alcohol consumption to a moderate amount can really help manage your health and weight this holiday season. Some mixed drinks can pack several hundred calories in one serving.

Stick to red wine for heart health benefits.

Use sparkling water as a mixer instead of juice.

Pace with water between drinks to keep you hydrated.

Keep it to three drinks or less per week.

7. Practice moderation – At the end of the day, I never want someone to feel restricted of their favorite foods during holiday season. The best approach is to practice moderation when it comes to food choices. Some simple tips to do this are:

Track your nutrition using my fitness pal to create awareness on your daily calories.

Limit snacks between holiday meals to avoid unwanted calories.

Stop eating at about 80% full during holiday meals to avoid over-eating.

Include ample fiber and protein at every meal to keep you full and satisfied without going over board on sugar.

If you found these tips helpful feel free to share it with a friend who can also benefit!

Looking for more support with your nutrition? Check out private nutrition coaching here!