Maintaining Your Weight During The Holidays

Most people associate the holiday season with gaining weight from the tasty food at parties and family celebrations, holiday party drinking, and less time and energy for exercise. Research has found that for most adults, this weight gain only adds up to one pound, not the 5 or more pounds commonly reported in the news. While only one pound sounds minor, most people don’t lose that extra pound. As we age, those extra pounds add up, leading to obesity over time. So one strategy for maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime is to avoid gaining holiday weight, no matter how small just one pound seems.

fruit christmas ornaments for healthy holidays

Five tips for weight management this holiday season

Count your liquid calories. The average person drinks 400 calories a day, and likely more over the holidays. Think eggnog, alcoholic beverages, soda, or punch. By sticking to water and other calorie-free drinks, it will be much easier to stay within the calories you should eat to maintain your weight. MyPlate’s SuperTracker has a personalized calorie calculator and tracking function to help with this!

Keep moving! When you get busy, physical activity is one of the first things to get overlooked. But to maintain your weight, you need to maintain (or even increase) the amount of activity you get. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. When you’re pressed for time, break it up into shorter sessions throughout the day. Or try a few high-intensity interval training sessions, which give you the same benefits in half the time. Try our Move More, Virginia! 7 Minute HIIT workout and let us know how you like it!

Choose healthier versions of your family favorites. Traditional holiday dishes tend to be loaded with sugar, salt, and fat, the nutrients we should try to limit. But there are ways to adjust the ingredients of your favorite holiday recipes to be healthier. Ohio State Extension put together this great resource for modifying recipes to be healthier and our recipe collection features many healthier versions of holiday classics.

Prioritize sleep. Sleep is crucial for good health, but too many of us aren’t getting enough. Not only will you be tired and cranky, too little sleep may lead to weight gain. Not getting enough sleep makes you less likely to exercise and increases your appetite, so you’re more likely to make poor food choices.

Find a healthy outlet for stress. The holidays are a special time, but can lead to stress for many people. Family drama, tight budgets, crowded stores, and house guests can overwhelm even the most easy-going person. Find a coping strategy that works for you and doesn’t involve stress eating. My favorite way to destress is a tough workout to burn off some steam, although a gentle yoga session helps me relax, too. I also clean when I’m stressed because it takes my mind off what’s bothering me and brings a sense of order to my home. Other good strategies include breathing exercises, getting organized (meal planning is always helpful!), or calling a friend to talk.

What are your biggest struggles when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season? Have you found ways to eat smart and move more? Share them with us!

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