Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Post: Avoiding Unnecessary Weight Gain During the Holidays

Holiday parties, coworkers in a baking frenzy, family feasts, and fancy holiday cocktails. Sounds like a recipe for weight gain, fatigue, and hangovers.

The number one new year's resolution is weight related, and only 39% actually achieve this goal!

The holidays do not have to be a time to undo the hard work you’ve built up throughout year. Depending on your usual habits, here are some relatively simple ways to keep yourself in check without feeling deprived during the holiday season.

Throughout the Season

You know that you’re likely to have a few more treats than usual late in the year so planning is key. Be meticulous with your daily meal plans by shopping from a list to avoid impulse buys. Invest in portable containers and keep the day’s meals in them so you will always be prepared, which will reduce the temptation to eat out or grab just one more sugar cookie.

Avoid highly processed foods or anything with added sodium. This will help to reduce inflammation and bloating and therefore make you feel better. When you know you’ve been eating well, the temptations are easier to resist.

Exercise daily. Even if it’s a 30 minute walk, get out and move. Your body will feel healthier and any extra calories burned will make up for the occasional Christmas cocktail.

Drink a lot of water. Water flushes toxins from your body, helps with cell regrowth, and reduces inflammation. A basic rule of thumb is to divide your weight in half and drink at least that many ounces every day.

Holiday Parties

Company parties, your best friend’s annual shindig, whatever it is, holiday events come with the season and generally include lots of sugars, fats, and calories. You don’t necessarily have to deprive yourself. It’s a great idea to bring along some of your own homemade goodies to a party, either something healthy, like a veggie plate, or a reduced calorie version of one of your favorite treats. Then, if you find your self tempted to overeat, snack on those items during the party.

Another surefire way to avoid overindulging is to have a filling snack or small meal beforehand. My preference is a quick Shakeology smoothie because the protein fills me up and the ingredients help to reduce cravings. Other great options are a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts or veggies and hummus.

Consuming Alcohol

It seems like we get extra creative with our holiday drinks which usually means consuming more calories. Think eggnog, heavy cream, and Baileys. When you imbibe, stick to clear alcohol and low-sugar mixers like tonic water.

We all know how easy it is to fall into the trap of overeating during the holidays. After all, the season of cutting back spending, eating, and drinking immediately follows when January 1st rolls around, promising a year of change. By following these basic steps, you’re more likely to maintain your weight and feel better throughout the holiday season and enter the new year feeling motivated and healthy!

Christa McMahon is a health & fitness coach working independently with people who want to live healthier lives, lose weight, and get ripped, through practical goal setting and accountability. She is a Colorado native married to her high school sweetheart, living in Durango, CO. They enjoy spending time with their families, and taking advantage of the outdoor adventures in such a beautiful state. You can follow her on Facebook.

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