11/30/10 The Dreaded Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are not only notorious for long lines and outrageous traffic, but also enriched food, overindulgence and low activity level. Many people find the holidays a time to get together with family, hang out and eat all the most fattening and caloric foods and drinks. The dreaded “holiday weight gain” would not occur if we all followed these simple rules.

1. Be an active member of the gym before the New Year! How many people’s New Year’s resolution is to join a gym and be fit? What is the reason people wait that long to join the gym? If you were actively going to the gym, you would be burning those access calories instead of waiting for the next excuse not go to the gym and wouldn’t gain the average 5-10 lbs most people gain in these next couple months. Find a class or a personal trainer you like to help you stay motivated throughout the holidays and the rest of the year.

2. Don’t starve yourself. Most people know they are going to eat badly, so they wait all day to eat until their early dinner thinking they can “afford” the calories. WRONG! You will be so hungry by the time you eat that you will not know the meaning of control or moderation. Eat your normal healthy meals so that you don’t go overboard and enjoy your food without feeling sick or too full.

3. Do not take home left over’s, or if you are hosting give the left over’s away or to shelters. Holidays last one day not a few days, weeks, or the entire month!!! Enjoy the day and then go back to normal life. We wouldn’t have the “holiday weight gain” problem if everyone treated the holiday as a holiday (Not plural) Just because it’s the day before Christmas Eve does not mean it is a holiday.

4. Don’t stress. Make sure you take time for yourself each day. Holidays are about giving and sharing, but we all know that it is a hassle waiting in lines, driving in traffic and bad weather. Be sure to take an hour or two each day for you. When we are stressed our body knows it and can tend to hold on to weight for security. Schedule a massage or even better go to the gym!

5. Be picky on what you indulge in. There is no need to snack on everything. Most likely you will know what kind of foods are going to be at the party so pick beforehand what you are going to eat and stick to it. It’s okay to have a piece of pie but stay away from all the extra cookies that will be around.

6. Drink lots of water. When your body is thirsty it triggers false hunger signals. Keep a water bottle handy and hydrate.

7. Set goals. By setting food and exercise goals throughout the holiday, you will be less likely to break them. Be sure to write out the time you plan on going to the gym and what your intentions are when you get there. When things are written down you are more likely to execute them.

8. Don’t let other people pressure you. You can politely refuse to eat anything, even if it’s great your grandmother’s signature dish. Don’t let other people pressure you with phrases like, “It’s thanksgiving, come on, have another!” They mean well, but they won’t be there when you are frantically searching for skinny outfits in two months. This is your weight loss, your diet, and your weight gain. Set your own rules and don’t let other people talk you into sabotaging your weight plan.

9. Use smaller plates. A packed smaller plate physically means less food than a larger plate. You won’t feel like you are depriving yourself if your plate is still full. Your eyes want everything on the table. With a packed small plate, your eyes still see a big amount of food, but you will have saved yourself half the calories of an enormous plate.

10. Wear tight clothes. Nothing sends a clear reminder to you than your clothes starting to feel tighter. Dress so that your clothes help you out when you start to feel full.

Remember, have an amazing time with family and friends, but don’t forget to be aware of your decisions. You don’t want to have to suffer the consequences come the New Year.

-Shannon Flanagan