Brittany Reese on December 7, 2017
Everyone is in full holiday mode. Whether you are getting ready for Hanukkah, Christmas, or another celebration you are probably having to navigate through many holiday parties in and out of the office, cookie making and family gatherings.
Holidays are synonymous with eating, especially calorie heavy food. It is very easy to gain weight during the holidays without even trying. Due to all the other constraints on your time – decorations, gift buying, cleaning and cooking – it can be easy for your workout regimen to take a back burner as well. All of this can contribute to holiday weight gain.
So what can you do? Just accept that come January 1, your pants will be tighter? No! We can combat holiday weight gain.
Planning is key: Which is why I think coming up with a personal Holiday Game Plan is the best approach. This way you can enjoy the time with family and friends AND the delicious food. Everyone’s game plan may look different according to their own goals and approach to the holidays.
I’ve listed some strategies for you to consider. As with anything, do what works for you and your lifestyle and goals.
Fail to Plan. Plan to Fail.
- Mindful Eating: This subject has been talked about a lot on the blog and for good reason. It can help someone lose weight but most importantly for this blog, enjoy the food that you are eating. My personal weakness is pumpkin pie. I love it. It is delicious and should be consumed with whipped cream at all times, in my opinion. It is probably my favorite dessert of the holiday season. Since I know this is my weakness, instead of depriving myself of this food I still take a reasonable portion of it and enjoy every single bite. I employ all my concentration on this piece of pie and have no guilt afterwards.
- Bring Your Own Food: This one could be tough depending upon your traditions but bringing a side dish or entrée that you know you can enjoy alongside others can be a great strategy to holiday eating, and could relieve any stress associated with finding food that you can eat too at a holiday gathering.
- Picking your Battles: Deciding in advance when to indulge, instead of letting your emotions and hunger determine what you eat in the moment. Before you even leave the house decide what you plan on indulging in, what might be worth it to skip, and any guidelines you want to follow. Then do it! If you need to, pull someone alongside for support for when you know you may be vulnerable to certain foods or habits.
- Keeping to Your Workout Schedule: While you can’t work off a bad diet, (this has been an adage for a while for good reason), you can certainly increase intensity or frequency during the holidays, even if you can’t burn off all that turkey dinner. And, by sticking to your regular workout schedule you will feel more normalized. You will also keep experiencing all those normal workout benefits such as better sleep and increased energy.
- Loading up on Vegetables: Maybe it is not a salad exactly but filling your plate with non-starchy vegetables instead of calorically heavy items such as pecan pie, latkes, stuffing, etc. can help to fill you up and make you feel less likely to overindulge. I’m sure you have heard this advice many, many times but it’s for a reason – it can work!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me to discuss what might be the most beneficial plan for you this holiday season! Or anything else nutrition related.
Happy Holidays (and Happy Eating)!
Brittany Reese is a registered dietitian, personal trainer, group exercise instructor and food lover. Do you have questions or comments? Fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you very soon.