Have fun this festive season – without adding a few kilos
Holidays are those magical times of the year where we get to have a break, visit family and friends and generally have a good time.
Unfortunately, a few weeks later we might discover that we’ve gained a few kilograms while enjoying the festive revelry.
Why do you think that most people’s New Year’s resolution is to lose weight?
That’s why we’re sharing the best 6 tips to help you prevent holiday weight gain in the first place.
Armed with these tips, you’ll be better prepared to face the delectable treats that are part and parcel of the festive season.
From year-end functions to boxes of chocolates that you might receive as gifts, the holidays provide ample opportunity to overindulge.
But with a few careful choices on your part, you can enjoy yourself and prevent holiday weight gain.
Our 6 tips to prevent holiday weight gain
1. Don’t give yourself permission
Let’s talk about mindset for a moment. Part of the reason why people gain weight so easily during festive periods is that they give themselves permission to do so.
Now, they might not consciously say to themselves that they wish to gain weight over December, but they might use words like:
“It’s normal to gain a few kilograms over the holidays.”
“I’m going to be rolling into the New Year.”
“The only thing I got for Christmas was fat.”
“There will be more of me to love in 2021 (or whenever).”
You get the point.
The words we think or say are incredibly powerful!
By using phrases like the above, you’re setting the tone and expectation that gaining weight while on holiday is not only acceptable, it’s almost a given.
Avoid saying things like this because these statements inadvertently give you permission to overindulge.
2. Prevent weight gain starting with your mind
So what should you be telling yourself instead?
Choose statements that can help you cope with holiday temptations.
The key is to create statements that are positively worded.
If you say “I’m not craving chocolate” it will probably lead you to crave it even more. Don’t use a negative statement when you’re trying to obtain a positive result.
Here are a few examples of positive statements to use:
“I love eating healthy snacks like carrots and apples.”
“The best part of Christmas is the time spent with loved ones.” (Ie: shift your focus away from food!)
“I enjoy a gentle walk after dinner.”
“I find that I get full really quickly nowadays.”
Now come up with a few empowering statements of your own.
3. What your portion sizes
Along with access to more unhealthy treats and snacks, it’s easy to “give yourself permission” (see point 1 above) to eat bigger portion sizes over the festive season.
When we’re in a good mood, enjoying a social event and surrounded by delicious food, it’s easy to load our plates more than we usually would.
An easy way to prevent yourself from dishing up too much food is to first serve yourself salads and vegetables. This will help fill your stomach with healthy items first.
By serving up healthy options upfront, you’ll be leaving yourself less room on your plate for potatoes/rice and meat.
When it comes to dessert, serve yourself half a portion size or split it with someone else.
If you receive edibles for Christmas, put them out for everyone to enjoy. Some items like biscuits and chocolates have long expiry dates and you can save them to eat a few months later.
4. Load up on healthy snacks
During the holidays it’s fun to visit friends and family for braais, picnics and other social events. By default, social gatherings are brimming with snacks and sugary beverages.
Even if you normally eat healthily, you might find yourself stocking up your pantry with ‘junk food’ for the times when you will be entertaining guests.
Drinking more soda than usual, eating crisps and pretzels (not to mention Christmas mince pies!) can quickly add up! Before you know it, you’re gaining weight slowly but surely.
To combat this, keep healthy snacks at hand and even pack your own if you attend social gatherings.
Some healthy snack options include:
– Cucumber and carrot slices
– Roasted nuts
We’re not saying you can never enjoy a treat, but provide healthy alternatives so that you don’t go overboard.
5. Watch the booze
Speaking of going overboard, another great tip to prevent holiday weight gain is to watch how much alcohol you’re consuming.
Beer is notoriously high in carbohydrates and calories, while spritzers are often laden with sugar.
When it comes to hard liquor, it’s the sodas that add considerable calories to your drinks. Knock back a few klippies and coke and you may as well have eaten an additional full meal!
By all means, enjoy a drink or two but remember that during the festive season, it’s easy to consume way more alcohol than usual, even if only because you’re socialising more frequently.
You might not overindulge in a single sitting, but having drinks four or five times per week when usually you only drink once or twice will certainly add up and contribute to an expanding waistline.
6. Move more
You’ve worked hard the entire year and now you just want to enjoy your break.
We hear you but…
… taking it easy doesn’t mean not moving!
If you are serious about wanting to prevent holiday weight gain, then prioritise movement in any way you can.
Walking, gardening, playing with your kids are all fun ways to burn fat while having a good time.
Regular movement and exercise will certainly help you mitigate some of the effects of extra snacking over the holidays.
If you want more ideas of what to do while you’re on leave, check out our article “10 Fun and Healthy Activities for Summer“.
Closing thoughts on how to prevent holiday weight gain
It’s possible to maintain your weight over the holidays and even prevent holiday weight gain if you stick to these tips and make wise food choices.
Enjoy yourself but be aware that frequent indulgences will lead to several kilograms of weight that you’ll need to lose in the new year.
And if you do gain a bit of weight, please don’t be hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes and make the best choices possible that day.
As they say, prevention is better than cure!
Instead of focusing on all the tempting food and treats you could be eating during the holidays, choose to focus on what matters the most… friends, family and rest.