10 simple yet effective ways to avoid the holiday weight gain trap
Staying fit during the holiday season is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. It helps you maintain your weight and keeps your energy levels high.
It's that time of year again - the holiday season has arrived, bringing with it the joy and excitement of spending time with loved ones, giving and receiving gifts, and, of course, an abundance of delicious food and sweet treats, which can be challenging to resist.
But if you're conscious of your weight, you need to be extra careful during this time of year to avoid the dreaded "holiday weight gain trap".
Gaining weight during the holiday season is expected. But with a few simple yet effective strategies, you can avoid the holiday weight gain trap and stay fit and healthy during this festive season. Read on to find out more.
Benefits of staying fit during the holidays
Staying fit during the holiday season is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. It helps you maintain your weight and keeps your energy levels high. You’ll also be able to enjoy the festivities with a clear mind and better focus.
Moreover, a healthy lifestyle will help you avoid the post-holiday blues. Research shows that people who maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holidays are more likely to be in a better mood and have higher self-esteem.
How to avoid the holiday weight gain?
There are plenty of simple yet effective ways to avoid the holiday weight gain trap. In this article, we'll be sharing 10 of our top tips to help you stay healthy and fit during the holiday season. So, let's get started!
1. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats that can cause weight gain. So, try to avoid eating processed foods as much as possible during the holiday season.
Instead, opt for whole, natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Another option is to opt for healthier versions of your favourite dishes. For instance, if you love mashed potatoes, you can use cauliflower instead of potatoes and make a healthier version.
2. Eat in moderation
During the holidays, it's important to watch our eating habits. That doesn't mean we can't enjoy all of the delicious food, but it's a good idea to avoid going back for seconds and to be mindful of how much we're eating.
One way to do this is by planning out our meals beforehand and eating slowly to allow ourselves time to feel full. Another tip is to use a smaller plate, which can help us control our portion sizes. And let's not forget about all the tasty vegetables and fruits available this time of year! Adding those to our meals is always a good idea.
Also try to remember that you’re not obligated to finish everything on your plate. It's okay to leave food on your plate if you're full. Don't feel like you have to clean your plate just because it's a special occasion.
3. Get moving
Exercise is a crucial part of maintaining our health and wellness during the holiday season. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity each day – it could be as simple as a quick walk or a more intense full body workout.
If you're looking for some extra motivation, why not join a gym or sign up for a fitness class? You can find gyms using fitness software that allows you to book classes online. Not only will it help you stay on track with your fitness goals, but it's also a great way to socialise and have fun during the holidays!
4. Stay hydrated
To keep from falling into the holiday weight gain trap, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day. This can help curb cravings for unhealthy snacks and keep you feeling full.
In addition to water, consider incorporating healthier drinks like herbal teas or fresh fruit juices into your routine. Using a water tracking app can also be helpful in keeping track of your daily water intake.
5. Have a routine
During the holidays, it's important to maintain a healthy routine to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals. This can involve setting a schedule for exercise, healthy meal preparation, and self-care.
A routine can also make it easier to resist unhealthy behaviours such as late-night snacking or making unhealthy food choices.
But changing your health outcomes isn't just about developing new habits. It's also about breaking old, unhealthy ones. To do this, you can use routines to help occupy your mind and body during times when you typically engage in unhealthy behaviours.
For example, if you tend to snack at night, you can try taking up a new hobby or writing in a journal to explore your emotions about eating instead of just snacking.
By finding new and creative ways to challenge your brain and break old habits, you can have fun and make progress towards your goals. Remember, it's all about finding what works best for you and being consistent.
6. Sleep well
Sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, as research has shown that people who get insufficient sleep are more likely to gain weight and have a higher risk of obesity. This is because sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal imbalances that increase appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods.
In order to avoid holiday weight gain, it's important to prioritise getting enough sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, as this is the recommended amount for adults.
A consistent bedtime routine can also be helpful in promoting good sleep hygiene and allowing you to relax and wind down before bed.
To establish a bedtime routine, try incorporating activities that promote relaxation, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or doing some gentle stretches or yoga.
Avoid screens (such as phones, laptops, and TVs) for at least an hour before bed, as the blue light they emit can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, create a comfortable sleep environment by keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
7. Avoid alcohol
While alcohol can be a part of holiday celebrations, it's important to be mindful of its potential impact on weight. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and sugar, and consuming too much can lead to weight gain.
In fact, research has shown that alcohol intake is associated with increased body weight and abdominal fat.
To minimise the risk of holiday weight gain, try to limit your alcohol intake or avoid it altogether.
If you do choose to drink, opt for lower calorie alternatives like light beer, wine, or vodka with soda water and a splash of lime. These options tend to have fewer calories than cocktails or full-strength beers.
It's also important to stay hydrated while drinking alcohol. Have a glass of water in between each drink to help you stay hydrated and reduce your chances of overeating. This can also help you pace yourself and prevent overconsumption of alcohol, which can lead to negative health consequences.
8. Limit stress
The holiday season can be a hectic and stressful time, and stress can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. Studies have shown that stress can lead to unhealthy behaviours such as overeating and drinking, which can contribute to weight gain.
To avoid holiday weight gain and maintain overall well-being, it's important to manage your stress levels.
One way to do this is to take breaks for self-care, such as getting enough rest, exercising, or practising relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you unwind.
Another way to limit stress during the holidays is to surround yourself with positive people and avoid negative situations. Seek out the company of family and friends who bring you happiness and support, and try to distance yourself from people or situations that drain your energy or cause unnecessary stress.
9. Avoid sugary drinks
During the holiday season, it's easy to be tempted by sugary drinks like eggnog, punch, and hot chocolate.
While these drinks can be festive and enjoyable, they can also contribute significantly to weight gain. This is because they are often high in calories, sugar, and other additives that can add excess calories to your diet.
To avoid holiday weight gain, it's important to be mindful of your intake of sugary drinks. Try to limit your consumption of these types of beverages, and opt for lower calorie alternatives when possible. Water, unsweetened tea, and coffee are all good choices that can help you stay hydrated without adding excess calories.
If you do choose to indulge in a sugary drink, consider making a healthier version by using low-fat milk or dairy-free milk alternatives, and limiting the amount of added sugar or syrup.
You can also try adding a slice of fruit or a sprinkle of cinnamon to add flavour without adding too many extra calories.
Also read: Adopt these 5 habits to prevent diabetes
10. Track your progress
Tracking your progress can be an effective way to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals during the holiday season.
By keeping a journal or using a tracking app, you can record your daily activities, including your exercise routine, what you eat, and how you feel. This can help you identify any areas where you might be able to make healthier choices or improve your habits.
Tracking your progress can also help you identify any setbacks or challenges that you might be facing. If you notice that you're not making the progress you hoped for, you can use this information to adjust your approach and come up with a plan to get back on track.
With consistent effort and determination, you can avoid the holiday weight gain trap and achieve your fitness goals.
Gaining weight during the holidays is a common problem. But with these 10 simple yet effective strategies, you can avoid the holiday weight gain trap. So, make sure to follow the tips above to stay fit and healthy this holiday season.
Also, don’t forget to track your progress and celebrate your successes. This will help you stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals.
Finally, if you're looking to stay fit and healthy this holiday season with more ease, you can also join fitness classes. A fitness membership can provide you with access to equipment, classes, and support from trainers, making it easier to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Fitness classes also have varied and unique exercises (such as HIIT, Barre or Bouldering) that’ll make you excited to keep exercising regularly. Just make sure to find one that allows you to book a class using an easy to use fitness software. So you don’t waste your holiday time finding and booking fitness classes.
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