Who doesn’t love the holidays? Decorations, music, parties, great food, that extra layer of fat to keep you warm for the rest of the winter…okay, maybe that’s not one of the fun parts of the holiday season. Don’t beat yourself up-you’re not alone. The average weight gain during the holidays is 5-10 pounds! If it’s Christmas year round at the North Pole, it’s no wonder Santa Claus has a belly like a bowl full of jelly (brace yourself for more of that over the next couple of months-the holidays make me even cornier than usual).
In all seriousness though, this is a major stressor for a lot of people, and to be honest it should be. Considering a healthy weight loss is 0.5-2 lbs per week, we’d have to start preparing for bathing suit season on New Year’s Day. Maintaining your weight throughout the season can be easier than you think though. The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center recently hosted a webinar on the topic, and we had three of our subject matter experts address the different components of weight maintenance: mindset, physical activity and healthy eating. Click on the link to take a look at the Power Point presentation: Weight Maintenance During the Holidays. There is some great info in there-especially if you read the speakers notes!
Some of the key points I walked away with:
1. Know your weaknesses. Is it parties? Sneaking a taste while you’re baking Christmas cookies? Sugary drinks? (Egg nog with a little whiskey? Don’t mind if I do!). Once you have recognized where you tend to slip, plan for what you’re going to do about it. Keep bite sized fruits and veggies handy when you are baking, so you can pick at those. DO NOT HOVER OVER THE FOOD TABLE AT PARTIES!
2. Make a conscious effort to work physical activity in to your daily life. If you plan for it, you probably actually do have time to go to the gym, go for a bike ride, run, whatever you normally do. Exercise as early in the day as possible to give yourself less time to come up with excuses. But if your schedule starts to get away from you, make sure you are doing the little things. Don’t be the person who drives around the parking lot for an hour looking for a spot close to the door. Elevators should not be an option at this time of year-take the stairs. Shovel instead of using the snow blower. Have a push-up contest at work. You get the idea.
3. Don’t deny yourself your favorite foods or treats at the next holiday party-it’s a time of celebration! Just make sure you are in control. Use a smaller plate to keep your portion sizes reasonable. Ask yourself if the dessert is worth it. I personally am not a huge cake person, but every once in a while I apparently feel the need to have a piece just to confirm that. Not worth it. If it is worth it, try to split it with someone. Whatever you do end up having, pay attention while you are eating it and enjoy it! If you don’t even notice you ate it, you are just going to look for something else to satisfy the craving.
4. Choose your drink wisely. If you are a sucker for egg nog, treat yourself to it on a night where you know you will only be having one drink. In it for the long haul? Try rum and diet coke, or a white wine spritzer. Don’t you worry-there will be some low-cal drink recipes coming soon to a blog near you 😉