It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
That’s right, we are already knee-deep into the holiday season! While these last few weeks of the year can be filled with joy, time away from work, family traditions, and memories with loved ones, it never ceases to be a time accompanied by stress. One common stressor this month is the dreaded holiday weight gain. Indulgences abound this time of year! According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American adult gains about a pound between mid-November and early January each year. Although a pound might not seem like a big deal, those pounds add up when they’re not burned off in the spring, summer and fall months, which is the case for many Americans. A study published in the same journal concluded that at least half the weight gained during the holiday season remains into the summer months and beyond!
For many, this time of year is daunting and can potentially derail weight loss goals. However, you don’t have to skip out on each and every holiday gathering this year if you’re trying to stay healthy; just be prepared to navigate the holiday spreads and indulge in moderation. Below are five tips to maintain a healthy weight during the holidays:
- Use MyPlate as your guide, filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- Plan ahead. Pack meals and snacks for your workday so you won’t be tempted to grab a cookie or sweet from the break room when you get hungry. And, when attending holiday parties, consider taking healthier versions of classic dishes for everyone to enjoy! See the infographic to the right for a few suggestions.
- Survey your options. When at a party, look to see what’s available and opt for a few of your favorites before filling your plate past maximum capacity. You can also opt for smaller plates to help control portions.
- Keep an eye on your portions. Enjoy your favorite holiday foods, just don’t overdo it!
- Limit your liquid calories. In addition to all the rich foods at holiday parties, many festive drinks (i.e. alcoholic beverages, eggnog and specialty coffee drinks) also contain excess calories, fat and/or sugar and can be easy to over consume.
Finally, be realistic with your goals and cut yourself some slack if you slip up here or there. When a slip up happens, instead of feeling that you have failed and giving up on your wellness goals, simply, remind yourself that not every day will be perfect and that is okay; tomorrow is a new day!