With the holidays right around the corner, you may be on the hunt for some tips to help keep you from gaining back all the weight you have lost this year in just a few weeks, or to make sure that you don’t get any further away from where you want to be by the time you are making those New Year’s resolutions. Anxiety may be creeping up as you wonder how you’ll ever survive the feasts you have ahead, not to mention the various social gatherings and parties. Fortunately, we have complied a list of some of the best tips that will help you succeed – without having to sacrifice your enjoyment of the holiday season.
Holiday Tip #1: Do Early Morning Workouts
Schedule your workout sessions for first thing in the day so they are over and done with before anything else comes up. Committing to doing regular workouts, especially through the holidays, will ensure that you are counteracting a lot of those extra calories.
As the season gets busy, this might be the only ‘you’ time you get, so make the most of it!
Holiday Tip #2: Plan Ahead
If you have a party coming up, just do some planning ahead. First, figure out what kinds of things you want to eat at that party so that you don’t feel deprived, without eating everything in sight. You can even make your own healthy dish to bring so that you are certain there is something you can eat without feeling guilty, and as a bonus you will look like a great and thoughtful guest!
Also, you can have a light snack consisting of some lean protein and a veggie about an hour before you head to the party. This will help calm your appetite, giving you more control over what you eat.
Holiday Tip #3: Alternate Holiday Beverages
Many people forget how quickly those holiday beverages can add up, so it’s important to keep track of how many you are having. A great thing to do is alternate between holiday beverages and water if you are going to drink.
This will help keep you hydrated, while also helping minimize your calorie intake, and probably keep you from doing anything too embarrassing in front of everyone from your office.
Holiday Tip #4: Wait Before Grabbing Seconds
Sometimes when you sit down for a holiday meal, the sights and smells can be overwhelming and you just want to load of a plate and scarf down all the deliciousness you have been waiting all year for – but don’t. The quicker you eat a meal, the less time you give your body to realize that it is full, causing you to go back for seconds.
It takes about 20 min for your body to recognize that it is full, so remember to eat slowly and then go for a walk or chat with family and friends before heading back for round two.
Holiday Tip #5: Keep Your Focus
You may not have seen your cousin Mary since you were Freshman in college, so you have a lot of catching up to do. Unfortunately, chatting over a bowl of cheesy dip while tossing back eggnog is not going to do either of you any favors. Studies have shown that people who listen to someone talk while eating tend to eat about 15% more than those who eat in silence.
When you are more focused on your meal, you will enjoy it more by fully tasting everything, and also be more aware of how much and quickly you are eating. The same goes for your conversations, which will be more enjoyable if you are attentive and engaged instead of shoveling food into your face.
Holiday Tip #6: Get Some Sleep
There are so many things to get done before and during the holidays, sometimes it feels like there are just not enough hours in the day. From getting your house ready for out-of-town guests to finishing up last minute holiday shopping, sleep may be the last thing on your endless to-do list.
When you miss out on sleep, it can effect more than just how you look. If you are exhausted you will feel even more stress from everything going on, which will make you more likely to eat bigger portions and crave foods you are trying to avoid. Also, studies have shown that people who get less than 5hrs of sleep have lower levels of leptin, which is the hormone that controls how full you feel, while also having higher levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone that stimulates your appetite. This basically creates the perfect storm for overeating, at a time when there is plenty of food around to binge on.
Be sure that you have a time each night to be done with all your to-do’s, and start to wind down with some tea or a book. If you still have things on your mind, you can make a list so it will be there for you to tackle in the morning.
Try to keep these tips in mind as you enter the holiday season, and you can navigate all your obligations without feeling deprived and still avoid gaining that dreaded “festive 15” this year.