How To Maintain Weight Over The Holiday Season
Updated: Apr 15
As the Christmas season is upon us many people are wondering how they can maintain their weight over this holiday season since ordinarily their typical New Year’s resolution is to get a membership at the gym to lose those extra pounds they accumulated over the Christmas festivities. A similar proclamation occurs in the spring when summer is quickly approaching.
Various seasonal holidays offer the challenge of not overeating, sedentary behavior, and consumption of calorie-rich comfort food. However, the good news is we can maintain our weight over the holiday seasons if we keep in mind some of the following:
Calories In – Calories Out: Since we all have different bodies, different ages, different goals and different lifestyles, the way we eat should reflect those factors. One important factor is maintaining an equilibrium that will help us maintain our weight. Let’s look at an example. My spouse, Corrie, usually consumes 1,850 calories on the days she exercises and 1,450 calories on the days she is less active. Since Corrie has determined what her optimal daily calorie intake for her total daily energy expenditure she is aware of how many calories to consume. When Corrie wants to lose a couple of pounds she simply makes small adjustments to achieve her goal.
Snack Wisely: During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies tend to be available for us to take as we please. When at home, this problem can be solved by keeping treats out of sight. However, that strategy is more difficult to avoid in situations that we cannot control, such as at our workplace or a family party. In these situation we should opt for real foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are filling snacks that don’t contain added sugars or unhealthy fats.
Watch Our Portion Size: When the holidays arrive, it can be easy to overload our plate. The best way to overcome this is to control portion sizes or use smaller plates. Use our best judgment to fill our plate with a reasonable amount of food.
Practice Mindful Eating: People are often in a rush during the holiday season, which frequently leads to multitasking during meals. Being distracted can result in overeating. This is because we are unable to pay attention to our body’s fullness signals To prevent this, eat mindfully and minimize distractions such as work and electronics. Try to chew slowly and thoroughly, which will allow us to better recognize our body’s fullness signals and consume fewer calories.
Keep Meals Balanced With Protein: Holiday meals are typically rich in carbs but low in protein. However, it’s important to include some protein with every meal, as it promotes fullness and may be useful for weight maintenance. In fact, eating protein with meals may automatically reduce calorie intake by reducing hunger and appetite. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, and some plant foods like beans and quinoa.
Focus On Fiber: Fiber is another important nutrient that induces fullness since it can reduce total calorie intake, which may help prevent weight gain over the holidays. Consider eating fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Bring A Healthy Dish To Share: It can be easy to overeat and consume fattening, high-calorie foods at holiday parties. However, we can control what we consume with a little will-power. One simple trick is to bring our own healthy dish to share. This way, we can guarantee we will have something to eat that aligns with maintaining our weight over the holidays.
Limit Desserts: Dessert is everywhere during the holiday season. This often leads to excessive sugar consumption, a common cause of weight gain. Instead of eating every treat in sight, we just focus on our favorites and ditch the rest. Another trick is to savor the desserts we indulge in, simply taking the time to eat them slowly, which may leave us feeling more satisfied and less likely to overdo it.
Limit Liquid Calories: During the holidays, alcohol, soda, and other calorie-rich beverages are prevalent. These drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to our diet, which can cause weight gain. Consider opting for water in between these these calorie-rich drinks.
Use Smaller Plate: Dinner parties and potlucks are common during the holiday season. However, these celebrations don’t have to wreak havoc our our goal of maintaining our weight. Since larger portions can contribute to overeating a smaller plate is an easy way to control those portions.
Skip Seconds: Holiday meals are sometimes served buffet-style, with several options to choose from in unlimited amounts. This can lead people to serve themselves seconds and maybe even thirds. As the calories from multiple helpings can quickly contribute to weight gain, we should limit ourselves to just one plate.
Avoid Processed Foods: Processed holiday foods such as boxed mashed potatoes and stuffing are more available than ever. While quick and easy, these foods often contain excess sugar and unhealthy fats that take a toll on our weight. To maintain our weight we should opt for whole foods and cook our meals from scratch.
Remain Active: Sedentary activities, such as sitting on the couch watching TV, are common holiday traditions for many families. Inactivity may contribute to weight gain, especially if accompanied by overeating. One simple thing that is also productive would be cleaning our home on a regularly basis. Other suggestions would be standing up more while at work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a brisk walk, or a little exercise routine at home.
Control Your Stress: Keeping up with the demands of the holidays can be stressful. When we are stressed our bodies will naturally produce higher levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Chronically high cortisol levels may cause weight gain, as they have been linked to greater food intake. Additionally, a stressful lifestyle may cause more cravings for comfort junk food. For these reasons, it is important to keep our stress levels under control especially during the holidays. Some techniques to consider when reducing our stress levels would include exercise, meditation, and deep breathing.
In closing. While maintaining our weight over the holidays these noted suggestions will help you to remain healthy, happy, and weight-conscious. Being diligent will prevented weight gain and achieve your goal of maintaining your weight during this celebratory season.
About The Author: Steve is a Blogger, Videographer, and Personal Trainer. His content creation focuses on Generation X Societal Lifestyles, Health/Fitness and Faith. #healthylifestyle