10 Tips To Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Santa girl with red cheeks eating a piece of chocolate cake

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Written by: Joanne Beccarelli

One of the biggest problems with holiday weight gain is that it can be really hard to get rid of!

Most Americans believe that they gain 5-10 pounds between the end of November and the end of the year. However, studies have shown that holiday weight gain correlates with your pre-existing level of thinness or heaviness. Everyone has a different rate at which their metabolism functions and, during parts of the year where eating is a significant mode of celebration (such as during the holidays), metabolism rates can become all the more apparent.

For instance, thin people – or people with a quick metabolism – tend to gain only 1 pound, while heavy people – or those with a slower metabolism – can reach upwards of 3-5 pounds in 4 short weeks.

Regardless of where you are starting this holiday season, you can make the choice NOW to navigate this holiday season without having to worry about gaining extra weight and making weight-loss resolutions for the upcoming year.

Use some or all of these 10 tips to set yourself up for a easy-to-manage festive season and get yourself on the right track.

1. Be mindful. Don’t mindlessly lick and taste while you are cooking and baking. I know this can be tough! Save yourself for some of the real thing – the delicious finished product! The holidays are not about living without, but rather, living mindfully.

2. Save indulgences for social days. Not every day is a party during the holidays, although it sometimes feels that way. Eat 100% whole foods that are what we call ‘clean and lean’ whenever you are not celebrating. Use those low key days to offer your body kindness in the form of raw vegetables, salads, fresh fruit and mostly non-starchy plant-based foods.

3. Have a plan for the times you will be participating in the festivities. Be strategic on how much dairy, fat, sugar and flour-based foods you allow yourself. These are the villains that take over many holiday meals and treats and lead to packing on the pounds. By being proactive rather than reactive, you can enjoy the festivities and go home not feeling like you’ve brought some extra weight along with you.

4. Eat something healthy before you head out or entertain at home. Fill up on lots of vegetables ahead of time.  A stomach filled with vegetables and fruits can help suppress an out-of-control appetite and balance your overall food consumption.

5. Scout out food and drink offerings before diving in. This ties back to having a plan to avoid mindlessly eating. When you browse the food offerings first, you take control over deciding what you absolutely want to have and what isn’t interesting enough to waste stomach space on.

6. Watch the amount of alcohol and indulgent drinks you sip and guzzle. Most holiday celebrations come with interesting, tasty and high-potency drinks that pack a punch in more ways that one. Just like how the tab in a restaurant increases exponentially when ‘drinks’ are consumed, your indulgence meter goes through the roof with cocktails, free-flowing wine and eggnog.

7. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It is easy to forget to drink plenty of water when you are running around shopping, cooking and celebrating. Water is just as important now as it is when you work out. Your body will need hydration to keep your digestive system working properly and to flush out what you eat and drink during all of your festive celebrations.

8. Get plenty of sleep. Holidays are fun, but they are stressful as well. Too little sleep can add to a rise in the stress hormone, cortisol, which can then turn on hunger, make you cranky and rob you of the energy that you need to enjoy yourself.  

9. Retire the binge and diet mentality that most people showcase this time of year. Pick and choose ways to get the best of it all without stressing yourself out. Retire the “I’m bad, I’m good” approach to food once and for all. Make the paradigm shift away from “I want that, but can’t have it,” to “I can have that, but I don’t want it!”

10. Find a friend or family buddy to share these tips with and provide mutual support. Connection is the major theme of the season, so why not team up with a friend or family member to embrace these tips together? Plus, by connecting with someone else, you can have an easier time keeping your emotions in a good place.

With a little focus and planning, this holiday season can be exactly what you hope for it to be. And remember that whatever approach and thoughts you bring to the days ahead will also become your reality. Be merry. It is a season of happiness and fulfillment, after all!

What else do you do to help keep yourself from gaining any extra weight over the holidays? Please share with us in the comments below!

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Joanne Beccarelli
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Joanne Beccarelli

Holistic Health Coach, Juicing Junkie and Writer at GLAD for Health
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.

Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
Joanne Beccarelli
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