We all want to be jolly this time of year. What we don’t want, though, is a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly. While the average person gains only 1 pound over the holidays, research shows that most of us never lose that pound. So by the time we’re in our 40s or 50s, we may weigh a lot more than we like. Holiday weight gain, sadly, is like getting a really bad present with no gift receipt.
The solution? Strive for a weight-neutral holiday. The goal at this time of the year isn’t to lose weight—it’s to not gain weight.
You can’t battle holiday weight gain without a game plan. If you’d like to keep yourself from developing a Santa Claus gut, you’ll need a strategy. Here are four tips for eating healthy during the holidays to avoid putting on holiday pounds:
1. Make a point to move. Many of us are too busy during the holidays to squeeze in a trip to the gym every day. That’s OK. But don’t give up on exercise altogether. Walk the dog a bit farther in the morning, take a noon stroll while at work or head out on foot after dinner to check out the Christmas lights on your street. In fact, one study shows that walking 10 minutes three times a day can actually improve your health more than one 30-minute walking session.
2. Hydrate: Research shows that consuming about 16 ounces (two glasses) of water before a meal helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight over a 12-week period.
3. Fill up on good stuff. If you’re looking at a table full of appetizers and spot a platter of vegetables next to a cheese-and-cracker tray, make your first move a reach for the veggies. Research shows that people who ate fruits and vegetables tend to weigh less. If you follow these tips you will also be getting the nutrients you need for good health. One slice of red pepper, for example, contains about 25 percent of the vitamin C you need for the day.
4. Get enough sleep. Skimping on sleep makes it very hard to make good decisions. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were starved of sleep, late-night, high-carb snacking increased. Aim for seven to eight hours a night.
Find a physician today and contact us to make an appointment. If weight gain is one of your concerns, be sure to mention it at your appointment and together, you and your doctor can put together an action plan.