The holidays. I love everything from Halloween throughout the new year. But for many, it’s a time to pack on the winter poundage. Luckily, I have a plan of action that keeps me from gaining holiday weight. And I can do it from the comfort of my own home.
No, it’s not some miracle diet or grueling workout plan. I still enjoy all of the goodies I want, such as chocolate, cakes, and divinity.
Today, I’ll share how I avoid packing on the pounds without starving or denying myself the awesomeness that comes with holiday foods.
7 Ways to Stave Off Gaining Holiday Weight
It’s true that I’m not quite to my goal weight yet. But every year, I also avoid gaining back what I’ve lost. And as I love foods during the holiday season, that’s actually saying quite a bit.
Coincidentally, I also start each year lighter than when it started.
So, what are some ways you can hold off gaining holiday weight this season?
1. Use MyFitnessPal to Track ALL Calories
I’m a HUGE fan of using MyFitnessPal. Thanks to this free app, I’ve been able to keep a close eye on what I eat. In fact, it’ll scare the crap out of you when you start tracking every morsel of food you eat throughout the day.
Enter in every single thing you consume, whether it’s water or that handful of nuts you grabbed while walking through the kitchen today. Then, make sure you keep your calories “in the green.”
This means you’ll meet your intake goals for the day. And depending on where you have these goals set, you could lose quite a bit.
My awakening happened when I tracked my lunch from Taco Bell when I first installed the app. All I could think was, “no wonder I grew to 300+ pounds.”
2. Don’t Forget to Mix in Healthier Foods
So, monitoring all of your calorie intake doesn’t mean much if your diet consists of cupcakes. You can’t expect to set a 2,000 calorie goal and eat nothing but sugar while expecting not to gain holiday weight.
You have to mix in some healthier alternatives in addition to the seasonal goodies.
For example, I’ll offset some of my caloric intake with fruit and nut mixes throughout the day. Then, if I have the calories to “afford” it, I’ll have a couple of chocolates.
This has made a massive impact on both feeling better and losing as much weight as I have.
3. Increase Your Physical Activity
Another aspect that helps me prevent gaining holiday weight is keeping as active as I can. Normally, this is through playing the Xbox Kinect, going on walks, playing with the Bodyblade, or anything that increases the heart rate.
In fact, I’ve burned more calories vigorously cleaning my kitchen than going for a 3 MPH walk.
The idea here is to make sure you keep yourself burning throughout the holiday season. It might be pretty easy if you do a lot of Christmas shopping. Just make sure you’re not eating more than you burn.
4. Get Better at Portion Control
One of the biggest reasons why I’ve lost more than 80 pounds is thanks to portion control. It’s why I can still enjoy the foods I love while losing weight.
I just don’t eat nearly as much per meal or snack.
Back in the day, a portion to me was an entire row of Oreos and a tall glass of milk. Then, I saw how many calories that was in MyFitnessPal.
But remember, you can overeat the healthy stuff as well. Consider the volume of food before eating.
5. Consider Sugar-free Substitutes
There are a few things I’ll do on the level of sugar-free. For instance, right now, I’m drinking a sugar-free coffee from Dutch Bros.
I’m not saying everything needs to be free of sugar. But, it probably wouldn’t hurt to consider alternatives if you want to keep from gaining holiday weight.
Besides, there are a few things that are sans-sugar that are pretty good. Don’t be too quick to cancel them out.
6. Go to Bed at a Reasonable Time
One way to stave off the weight and prevent binge eating at night is to go to bed at a reasonable time. I am still working on curbing this side of my personality.
Instead of staying up until 12:30 am or so, and snacking on whatever I can find, going to bed at 9:30-ish cuts out about 800-1000 calories worth of munching.
On a side note, getting enough sleep also improves a wide range of physical issues. This includes stress, depression, and cognitive functionality.
7. Remember to Relax
And lastly, it’s vital that you remember to relax. A lot of us will dive into gaining holiday weight from sheer stress alone. This is all thanks to the hormone, cortisol.
The holidays are some of the most stressful times of year for just about everyone. In fact, Holiday Depression is a real problem and has been so for a very long time.
So, remember to take time to relax and collect your thoughts. Meditate, take a hot soak in a tub, read a good book, build something in Minecraft…just find a way to vent and take your mind off of things.
Yes, I’m in my 40s and still love to play Minecraft as a way to unwind.
When All Else Fails, Make a Resolution
A lot of people will make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. It’s also one of the most common goals people give up after a short amount of time.
A resolution like this will work, as long as you’re dedicated and motivated. But instead of merely focusing on an ultimate goal, make sure you break it up into easy-to-obtain objectives.
For instance, if you use MyFitnessPal, you can decide to reduce your caloric intake a certain amount every day.
Signing up with Exercise.com is free, and lets you keep track of personal fitness records.
Get a Fitbit or other fitness tracker to gamify exercise.
My point is if you do make a resolution after gaining holiday weight, focus on what you can do today to get closer to that goal. One extra step, one extra push-up, or one less cookie is all it really takes to get the momentum going.
As long as you’re serious.
Break the Tradition of Gaining Holiday Weight
You don’t have to sacrifice all of the end-of-year goodies if you want to avoid gaining holiday weight. For the most part, it’s all about moderation and making sure you’re burning what you eat.
Just make sure you’re also tossing in fruits and veggies. After all, your body needs a balance of nutrition in order to function properly.