Did you know the average person gains 8 pounds in the 6 weeks before Christmas? When you combine high-calorie party food, many drinks, and less time for exercise it becomes a perfect situation to gain weight. So many people get sick and stressed out in the 6 weeks before Christmas because their self-care falls to the bottom of the priority list. Taking care of yourself first is the BEST way to not gain weight this year. Here are five things you can do today to maintain your health this holiday season.

 

Don’t ‘save’ your calories

Skipping lunch the day of the company Christmas party might seem like a good idea.  You can indulge in a few more drinks or appetizers and not have to worry about gaining weight.  But skipping a meal isn’t a good idea. Feeling starving leads to overeating.  Your brain becomes so focused on getting food and you don’t notice the signals that you’re full until you’re stuffed. Eat a sensible portion of your daily meals and indulge in the foods you TRULY want, instead of inhaling everything in sight.

Up your water intake NOW

Alcohol, salty foods, and late nights are a recipe for dehydration. Your body needs water, and it’s especially important during times when you’re not eating your regular healthy diet. If you’re wondering how much, the 8 glasses a day advice is old news. Drink enough so that your pee is light yellow or clear.  For me, that’s anywhere from 75-100 oz per day. Get yourself a cute water bottle and drink like it’s your job.

Supplements

If you don’t already take daily supplements, now is a good time to start. Vitamin D to support your immune system. B-complex to give you energy (and help recover from any hangovers), and calcium/magnesium to help you relax and repair your aching feet.  A good multivitamin will include all these or take them individually. *please always follow directions and talk to your healthcare professional if you haven’t taken these vitamins before.

Move your body every day

Even if you’re just walking around the block to the mailbox, move your butt.  If you can stick to your regular exercise schedule, even better! But the holiday season is so busy, self-care often goes by the wayside. So take 10 minutes and walk around the block, play in the snow with your kids, or park farther away from the mall and do a few laps while you’re shopping. Moving your muscles helps your body work more efficiently, and burn calories long after you’ve stopped moving.  If you can move every day you’re in a great position to not gain weight this winter.

Think about your drinks

Did you know that 1 cup (not a glass, but a baking measurement) of eggnog with rum has almost 500 calories? With the average person needing anywhere from 1500-2500 calories daily to maintain their weight, that’s 1/3 to 1/5 of your daily intake.  During the holidays drinks go down FAST.  You’re having fun, chatting and eating away, and before you know it, you’ve had 2 or 3 eggnogs or punch and you’re feeling fine.  I’m not going to tell you to avoid alcohol altogether because that’s unrealistic.  But make a smart choice.  Champagne has only 84 calories per 4oz glass, and a cosmopolitan has around 150.  Watching your empty calories is a super simple way to not gain weight this year.

Above all though, don’t deprive yourself.  Doing so can lead to binge eating and poor choices. Think about what you’re eating this season and be mindful and present when eating it. Making some smart choices and substitutions will help you maintain, and not gain before January 1st.

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Let me know! What are your favourite hacks to avoid holiday weight gain?