Holiday weight gain is the most common real problem facing Americans. According to the National Institute of Health, the average American gains about 1 to 2 pounds over the winter holidays. They stay at that weight for the next months, leading to weight accumulation throughout the year, which results in obesity.
It can be a different way during the holiday for you. You can still enjoy your holiday meals without gaining weight. If you’re worried about holiday weight gain, Here are seven tips to help you avoid weight gain and manage your weight around the holiday:
Why It’s Important to Maintain A Healthy Weight
You might think that being fit and healthy is all about looking good—but the truth is, there are some serious health benefits to staying in shape. Staying at a healthy weight will help to:
Prevent Health Problems
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial because it can help prevent certain diseases. People who are obese are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. They also have a higher risk of developing cancer, such as breast and colorectal cancer.
Additionally, being underweight raises your risk of health issues. A low BMI may make it more difficult to recover from an illness or infection and may increase your risk of developing conditions like osteoporosis and anemia. You can diminish these risks by losing weight or staying fit by maintaining a healthy weight.
Improves Physical and Mental Health
Weight maintenance can help with your mental and physical health by reducing stress levels in your body which cause many problems, including depression and anxiety.
Staying at a healthy weight also means getting enough sleep every night. You can only perform well and stay fit if you get enough sleep. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to be deprived of better sleep.
Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours are likely to be overweight or have higher BMI than those that get enough sleep.
Tips to Prevent Weight Gain During Holidays
The holidays are a time to be with family and friends, but they can also be a time when we put on extra weight when we don’t get time for exercise, and don’t consider what we eat. Here are nine tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain:
1. Plan Ahead
Planning can help you in preventing weight gain this holiday. Before shopping for that dinner party, you will host in the next two weeks during the holidays, do a food diary for two weeks and keep track of what you will eat and drink. This will help you cut out the foods that may contribute to your weight gain and the ones that will help you lose it.
It is also smart to know the area where you are going if traveling. Before you go visit family or friends, map the area out so you know where a grocery store is to get some healthy food to supplement your meals to make sure you are still getting enough food to fit your proper macros.
2. Be active
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the festivities and commitments and not realize that you’re eating more than usual and not exercising, which can cause your weight to accelerate. Despite fatigue, anxiety, or the fun, try exercising regularly. Do workouts like walking, squats, or running, depending on your fitness goal.
Regular exercise can assist you in overcoming these overwhelmed feelings and activities, enhance your sleep, and achieve or maintain your fitness level by burning calories and you’ll feel great.
Aim for 20-30 minutes or more a day of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or move to the point where you raise your heart rate and sweat.
3. Eat A Balanced Diet Food
Most people during holidays fill half their plates with protein or grains, with a small number of fruits or vegetables on the side.
Make the goal this year to fill half of your plate with vibrantly colored foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and make protein, grains, or starches the supporting cast. By substituting vegetables for grains on half of your plate, you can cut 100–150 calories from each meal.
Increase your intake of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and some healthy fats such as olive oil or canola oil on most meals (as long as they don’t contain trans fat).
Additionally, emphasize the quantity, quality, and timing of your meals. Try to eat at the same time each day because our bodies enjoy consistency. Consider eating ideally every four hours.
4. Make Substitutions for Unhealthy Foods
Processed foods, like chips, are more widely available during the holidays. Due to the partying mood or additional commitments, you may be tempted to get some to save time on cooking.
Although these foods are tasty, quick, and easy, they often have excess sugar and bad fats that affect your weight.
To prevent weight gain, opt for whole grains instead of refined grains; fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods; low-fat dairy products rather than fatty ones; lean cuts of meat instead of fatty ones; and low-calorie beverages like water, coffee, or tea rather than sugary ones. Also, cooking your food from scratch is typically the healthy way.
5. Manage Your Stress
It can be challenging to keep up with the demands of the holidays, which can lead to a lot of stress. When stressed, your body responds to stress by releasing large amounts of the cortisol hormone. High cortisol levels have been linked to increased hunger, resulting in higher food intake and weight gain.
A stressful lifestyle may also increase the desire for junk food— unhealthy for your health.
For those reasons, reduce your stress levels by exercising, meditating, doing yoga, or just having fun with your family members, friends, or any loved ones.
6. Check Your Food Portion
During the holidays, it’s easy to find yourself eating more food than your body needs. When you eat a large portion of food, you are more likely to gain weight than those who eat less.
To prevent this from happening, use smaller portions. Eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of fewer bigger meals with more calories at each one can also help prevent weight gain. Smaller meals enable full metabolism, which lowers stress during exercise and helps you reach your fitness goal.
It also helps keep your blood sugar level stable, which means you’ll be less likely to overeat later in the evening when hunger strikes again.
7. Track What You Eat
During holidays, you are likely not as attentive to the food you’re consuming; it’s simple to eat so much junky food, like a larger serving of chips or ice cream, that it may lead to weight gain.
To prevent this, keep a food journal to see how much you eat each meal and how many calories those meals contain. Then make changes based on what you learn from your journal.
You can also use calorie-tracking apps to track your meals. Using a calorie-counting app can be very helpful because it forces you to record portion sizes and requires you to measure your food.
Other ways to prevent gaining weight and stay fit during the holidays are:
- Drinking water throughout the day
- Get enough sleep
- Eat more fibrous foods
- Weigh yourself regularly to know your weight
- Practice mindful eating
Workouts To Try at Home During the Holiday
Workouts are a great way to stay fit and healthy during the holidays. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to get active with your family or enjoy the quiet of some time alone, there’s no shortage of options for workouts at home.
Here are a few of our favorite workouts that are sure to keep you busy this holiday season:
The V sit-up is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your core muscles and challenging your balance. It targets the rectus abdominis and obliques in the middle of your torso and on either side of your spine.
By strengthening your core, coordination, and balance, you can maintain better posture and work better in various physical activities.
Jump squats are among the best exercises you can do at home, even though they will make your heart work harder and leave your legs burning.
Jump squats burn fat and calories while toning the abs, buttocks, and leg muscles. They also aid in maintaining balance and mobility, which are necessary for daily tasks and movements. Performing jump squats regularly can also help improve athletic performance.
To perform the exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and ensure your hands are at your sides, slightly bent and relaxed.
Bend your knees and lower hips until the top of your thighs is parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight, and straighten your arms and legs. Jump up as high as possible, and land softly on the floor. Ensure knees are slightly bent. Repeat as many times as you like.
Burpees are a single and full-body exercise that has massive benefits. Burpees are also classified as calisthenic workouts. They rely on your body to resist weight, making them easy to do at home at any time. They aid in fat loss and cardio fitness.
It targets the quads, hamstrings, calves, triceps, pecs, back, glutes, and biceps.
Take a pushup position while performing burpees. Next, jump forward with your feet, pushing through your feet. As you land, bend your knees, place your hands on the floor, and resume an extended pushup. Repeat this exercise at least ten times.
Lunges are a great way to work all the major muscles in your lower body, balance, and stability.
To perform lunges, stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and take a big step forward with one foot so that it’s just behind your toes; don’t let your heel rest on the ground.
Lower down until both knees are slightly bent at 90 degrees; don’t lean forward or backward. Shift back the forward leg.
Push back up to the standing position by pushing off from the heel of that same foot as you straighten out your back leg.
Alternate a lunge with a plyo lunge for 30-60 seconds for power. For endurance, perform as many lunges as you can in 30-60 seconds, switching sides. Add weight for strength.
Push-up is a basic exercise, but it’s still one of the most effective exercises for developing the muscles in the upper back and chest. It targets the chest and other muscles.
The chest muscles are important because they support the upper body, while the triceps are important in helping to stabilize your arm as it moves forward.
To do a pushup, start with your hands shoulder-width apart and bend your elbows to lower yourself toward the ground. Push yourself up when your nose gets close to the ground and then repeat.
Think about a few of these tips next time you head out to indulge with friends or family or even to unwind on your own. They’ll help you reduce caloric intake and make positive changes in your lifestyle. You will also enjoy your choices without overdoing them.
Always be realistic with your goals and expectations, and eat smart to stay lean during the holiday season. Stay active by planning outdoor adventures, which will help you burn calories and eat more fruit.