The holiday season is chock full of gatherings big and small. Between family celebrations, office parties, and gatherings with friends there is no shortage of opportunities to over-indulge. While going astray of your weight management may be a temptation, follow our tips to have a healthy holiday and avoid holiday weight gain. We promise, it’s easier to stay on track than derailing all your hard work and then re-engaging!
The tips below will help guide you in your plan. A gentle reminder though, to approach the holiday season with flexibility. A healthy holiday is about more than the food you eat, it includes positive interactions and low stress.
Simple Tips to Healthy Holidays
1. Plan Ahead for Healthy Holidays
Having a plan can be the difference between success and failure. Think through the details of the event you’re attending, and the elements you can control. Use those to help build a reasonable plan. Then do your best to stick to it. Having a plan will help you maintain your weight and health throughout the holidays.
2. Maintain Your Established Healthy Habits
It can be a challenge to return to your weight management routine if you step out of it for several days. One day off from routine is just a blip, but several days can form new habits. Stay active and eat healthy in the days leading up to and following a big event to keep your metabolism steady and have a healthy holiday season. Consider how much activity it will take to work off certain indulgences (Source: www.health.harvard.edu).
Recent studies show weight gain during the winter holidays doesn’t happen from one day of indulgences and lower activity levels. Holiday weight gain is a result of repeated days of higher caloric intake and lower levels of activity. Individuals with obesity or overweight are more likely to gain weight during this time period or have trouble losing weight post-holiday. (Source: www.nejm.com).
3. Sample Your Favorites
Holiday parties tend to have tables intended for grazing: charcuterie, dips and desserts are plentiful. Take small portions of your favorites that are on the table (Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/). Depriving yourself completely can lead to overindulgence later, so sampling your favorites can actually lead to a healthy holiday and help you stay on your weight management track!
4. Stay Active. Take a Walk.
Carve out time for exercise to prioritize your health and well-being this holiday season. Walking following a meal helps our digestive systems work more efficiently. Walking after a large meal can help “move” it through our bodies, rather than sitting. (Source: www.time.com)
Taking a walk is a great opportunity to slow down during a busy time of year. It also affords you an opportunity to connect with just one or two people for deeper, more personal conversations. Try to schedule time with a loved one in which the only agenda is time together.
5. Limit Alcohol Consumption.
Alcohol has lots of hidden sugar and calories that can hurt your weight loss efforts and disrupt healthy holiday habits. Not to mention slowing down bodily systems that impact your metabolism. It can also impair your decision making with food choices. (Source: www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org)
If you’re in Phase 1 or 2 of Options Diet System (ODS), it’s recommended you abstain from alcohol altogether. However, we understand holidays can make this a challenge. Bring a low-sugar mocktail. If that won’t suit you, plan ahead for a low-calorie, low-sugar beverage to have and only have one. (Source: www.myhealth.va.gov)
6. Provide a Healthy Holiday Dish.
Be a part of the solution to foster a healthy holiday meal. Bring a healthy dish to share (and eat) at the event. (Source: dahlc.mayoclinic.org) Prepare fresh or roasted veggies, a hearty salad or a delicious, low-carb side dish. Providing healthy holiday options at a gathering will ensure you have dishes available that will help in your weight management journey.
7. Log the Meal in Your Options Health Coach App.
If you track your meals, don’t skip recording what you ate at a holiday event. Record it. See the numbers. Move forward. Don’t obsess over it in the moment. Follow our tips and those of your Options Weight Loss Health Coach to stay on track for a healthy holiday season
Remember, these are general suggestions. If you’re in Phase 1 or 2 of ODS, please discuss your plans with your weight loss health coach. An Options Weight Loss Health Coach can tailor suggestions to you no matter where you are on your weight loss journey.
ENJOY your time!
Hopefully you’re spending time with loved ones and can relax, laugh and share memories. Remember stress and lack of sleep can negatively impact your weight management and general health (Source: www.cdc.gov). If you’re traveling during the holidays, check out our strategies to stay on track while traveling.
Find ways to re-energize yourself during this busy season and ENJOY the season.