Ah, the holidays, they are approaching. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? The coming weeks are prime indulging days, the time of year when you feel tempted to give into lots of treats and forget about the good habits you have set in stone over the past year. You say 'I'll worry about the weight gain and consequences in January. I want to enjoy the holidays to the fullest!'
Does it help to know that many of us struggle with weight gain during the months of October through December? It is considered synonymous with the holiday season. According to Dr. Deborah Balfanz, the average American gains one pound during the holidays. While this doesn’t sound like much, it certainly can add up over the years. In the same study, researchers found that people don’t tend to shed that winter weight by the next year. And as this New York Times article suggests, those who are already overweight tend to gain even more than one pound at the end of the year.
Here are a few tips for nutrition during the holidays:
1) Stay Hydrated:
Drinking plenty of water is important for many reasons, including the fact that it can aid in controlling appetite. Often times we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. Therefore, not drinking sufficient water can cause overeating. Additionally, staying hydrated can help suppress illnesses, which are quite abundant during the holidays.
2) Limit Alcohol Consumption:
Alcohol consumption is generally at a high during the holidays, but people trying to control their weight should be mindful of how much they consume. Liquid calories can quickly add up and contribute significantly to weight gain. According to Jason Ewoldt from the Mayo Clinic, festive drinks such as a cup of eggnog, a candy cane martini or a glass of sangria can include 250 calories or more for just a single serving. Not only is alcohol extra calories, but it is also dehydrating. Make sure to drink water between drinks to minimize negative effects.
3) Don’t Skip Meals and Eat Before Going to Parties:
People often skip meals during the holidays in order to prepare for a feast later in the day. However, this can lead to overeating and throw off eating patterns. An imbalance of macronutrients can cause sugar cravings as well, so make sure to be fairly consistent with your diet. Eating before parties is important as well, as this will help control your snack grazing. Sugary snacks are abundant in the holiday season, and most parties are filled with them. Consuming too much sugar is one of the biggest causes of weight gain, and eating before parties will help with your self control!
4) Keep Meals Balanced With Protein:
The majority of holiday staples foods are carbohydrate-based (the only obvious exception is turkey!). While it is beneficial to have sufficient carb intake, an excess amount can lead to weight gain. Therefore, make sure to consume enough protein during the holidays to maintain a balanced diet.
5) Be Active With Family and Friends:
The holidays are a busy time for everyone and the excuse of not having enough time is somewhat valid. But, there are plenty of ways to burn off the extra calories such as:
- Turn your home into a gym. Click here to read this blog.
- Choose a far away parking spot as you can find instead of parking close the store
- An activity as simple as a family walk can provide benefits, as it will get your mind off food and allow you to bond with your loved ones
Sign up for a workplace/community fitness competition, or event like a running races or a 5k, or a holiday race like a "Turkey Trot".
Take your furry, four-legged family member for a longer walk
- Take the stairs at the department store verses the escalator or the elevator
Black Friday is heading our way in less than a week!
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