26 Dec 8 Tips to Maintain Your Weight This Holiday Season
Traditional meals, bountiful buffets, cookie swaps, and holiday parties are a big part of celebrating the holidays, so it’s no surprise that maintaining your weight can present even more challenges during the holidays than throughout the rest of the year.
No need to worry, it is possible to maintain your weight during holidays with some planning ahead!
Use these 8 tips below to make this holiday season your healthiest yet:
- Don’t Go Starving. Don’t arrive to a holiday party on an empty stomach and it is not recommended to skip meals before in an effort to “save” calories. Having a planned, healthy snack before attending any holiday party can help reduce urges to binge or overeat.
- Get Moving. Regular physical activity is a great way to maintain your weight, reduce holiday stress, and improve your sleep. Make sure you try and carve out some time daily and get your body moving, whether it’s on a yoga mat, a virtual spin class, a gym workout or simply a long walk with your family. Find a workout that works for you and one you genuinely enjoy!
- Be Mindful of Portion Sizes. Choose small portions of high calories dishes that you want to splurge on, and bigger portions of salads, and lower calorie options. It may be helpful to use smaller plates if available when at a buffet-style party because if you have a large plate you will be tempted to fill the entire thing, even if you aren’t that hungry!
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. This can help with cravings, mindless snacking throughout the day, and help to reduce stress. You’ll also be more willing to exercise if you’re not tired the next day!
- Reduce Your Stress. Cortisol, a hormone that is made in response to stress, has been associated with increased food intake, which may contribute to weight gain. Keep your stress levels under control this holiday season by implementing more exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, self-care, or whatever it is that makes you feel more relaxed!
- Limit Liquid Calories. During the holidays, alcohol, soda, hot chocolate, eggnog, and other calorie-rich beverages are prevalent. Unfortunately, these drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain. If you’re trying to control your weight, it’s best to limit your intake of high-calorie beverages and opt for water, seltzer, or low-calorie/calorie-free beverages instead.
- Prioritize Fruits and Veggies. At the holiday table, starchy sides (peas, corn, potatoes) usually get a lot of attention. However, it’s important to incorporate more non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and salad because these veggies usually have more volume and less calories. In other words, you’ll get full faster with less calories! Aim to make ½ of your plate with non-starchy veggies, ¼ with lean protein and ¼ with complex carbs.
- Have It and Move On! One unhealthy meal isn’t going to make you gain weight, just like one healthy meal isn’t going to make you lose it. So you had more dessert than you planned for? Don’t harp on it. Move on and start your normal, healthful routine the next morning!
While maintaining your weight during the holidays may seem difficult, it is possible and very doable. Have a happy (and healthy) holiday!
Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Consultant