How to indulge over the holidays and avoid the inevitable bulge

By: Health Local Staff Dec 07, 2014
  Article
avoid holiday weight gain

Tips to help you enjoy all the yummy treats the season has to offer, without the expanding waistline.

It seems as though everywhere you look, there’s a cake, some cookies, chocolates and other yummy treats begging your attention. Your office mate, whose tiny frame doesn’t seem to grow an inch no matter what she eats, brings in an assortment of goodies every day. And when they’re finished, rather than be kind and not replace them, she brings more in!

Your vendor schedules a lunch to thank you for all the business you’ve given her all year. While you would have been more than happy to eat light from the local delicatessen, she takes you to that new Italian place with portions so large, you don’t even want to think about your caloric intake for that meal.

You get home and your husband has brought home a box of chocolates his boss gave him, just because… and just as you’re ready to run and hibernate until the holidays are officially over, your sister calls to remind that this year’s Christmas is at her house and she’s making a five-course meal. She wants to show off her newly acquired culinary skills that she learned from the course she took.

‘Tis the Season…
With another holiday season upon us, ‘tis the season for the average person to gain between 1 and 3 pounds. As you read this, you are probably thinking to yourself, “Really? Just 3 pounds is the most that I am expected to gain for 5 weeks of indulging on sweets and my favorite holiday fixings that I miss throughout the year?” Indeed, this doesn’t sound so bad, but a study done by the National Institutes of Health indicates that these 1-3 pounds are cumulative and never come off. So, what that means over your lifetime is actually not great news.

Avoiding the Inevitable Bulge
Certainly nobody wants to be a scrooge and continually say, “No thanks” when the tray of cookies or mashed potatoes are passed. But there are ways to say, “Yes, thank you” and not gain an ounce. In fact, there are three ways that when practiced in conjunction with one another, really do work.

  • Continue to eat sensibly
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop stressing

Continue to Eat Sensibly
Just because you love your candied yams and rice pilaf, don’t forgo what your body needs to keep the weight gain at bay and fight off illness. You can have your cake and eat it too, just make sure you have a healthy portion of green leafy vegetables first. Remember all the foods that ward off disease are also the same ones that keep you from gaining weight. And while you’re saying yes to the cake, ask for that piece to be cut in half. Moderation is key. 

Don’t Skip the Exercise
It’s so easy during the holidays to get out of your routine. Office parties, parties at the homes of friends and family and your place of worship not only heat up during the holidays, you know there will be plenty of indulgences. You don’t have to decline invitations; it’s certainly a wonderful feeling to be included. Just make sure that you schedule a good workout beforehand. And if you have to, amp up your workouts to compensate for the extra goodies.

Don’t Stress
Whether you are religious and take the meaning of the holiday's literally, think of it as a time to be with people you love and cherish, or both, it’s important to show up! What this means is that the holidays can be joyous and it can also be a time when people isolate. Get out, enjoy yourself and have a wonderful time. Be surrounded by people who love you and that you love in return. Stress is just as much of a magnet for weight gain as eating poorly. Try and minimize the stress in your life, and have fun celebrating this magical time of year.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.