5 Strategies to avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Tis the season of cheer and good will towards men! But with beckoning desserts and snacks around every corner, it’s easy for healthy eating habits to get lost in the shuffle. Pair that with cooling temps and hectic holiday schedules, and exercise plans often take a hit, too. However, it’s possible to survive the holidays with your wellness intact.

1 START YOUR DAY WITH PROTEIN
We recommend eating a protein-rich breakfast. Add in some complex carbohydrates, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. This approach will help you feel full longer, stave off unhealthy snacking and give you more energy to outlast the day. You’ll be pumped to exercise and feel satiated enough to just say “no” to holiday sweets.  OKAY OKAY…. maybe not NO… how about just a few less holiday sweets???

2 FIND EXERCISE IN EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES
If you don’t have time to hit the gym for a workout, look for creative ways to work exercise into your everyday activities. Choose the farthest parking spot away from the store when holiday shopping, that walk is not just for avoiding door dings….  Even common chores can make a dent in your calorie count. A person who weighs 155 pounds can burn around 140 calories raking leaves for 30 minutes. The movement and resistance help tone all the major muscle groups. Cleaning windows for 30 minutes burns around 90 calories. The key is to keep moving and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

3 Be Selective, Not Rigid
Don’t declare all party food off-limits. It’s a strategy that’s bound to backfire. If you decide to deprive yourself of all treats, you may end up overindulging out of frustration and rebellion. Instead, be honest with yourself about which foods you’re really looking forward to, and enjoy those in moderate amounts. At the same time, cut back on unhealthy snacks and fillers you really can live without.

4 SET GOALS
Instead of making the New Year the starting point of future fitness goals, consider it a mile marker. Perhaps you have a favorite outfit you’d like to don on New Year’s Eve — this can be one of many effective motivators. “Write your goals down, share them with a buddy, review the goals often and implement a plan that will get you to that goal by the deadline,” suggests fitness and exercise specialist Kelli Calabrese. Make sure your goals are realistic and that you have a plan for achieving them. With a strategy in place and a buddy to be accountable to, your fitness plan through the holidays can be very effective. You just have to follow it.

5 BE MINDFUL
Remember why you don’t want to overindulge on sweets and fall behind on workout schedules. That piece of apple pie with ice cream might be calling your name now, but are you going to feel the wrath of the sugar crash later? Come New Year’s Eve, are you going to feel sluggish from skipped workouts and unhealthy eating? Try to stay focused during the holidays so that you don’t lose track of your end goal. When faced with a sweet temptation, pay attention to hunger cues. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you’re just being lured by a momentary delight. When you’re tempted to sit on the couch in front of the TV instead of putting in time at the gym, remember how accomplished and great you’ll feel when your workout is done.