When entering into the hap-happiest season of all, it can feel anything but enjoyable if you spend the holidays worrying about putting on unwanted weight. This time of year is full of the temptation to eat unhealthy foods, indulge in sedentary habits, and not allow yourself opportunities for sufficient exercise. You may think you can just work the extra weight off in January as part of your New Year’s resolution, but it would be much easier — and better for your health — not to gain it in the first place. Read on to learn how.
How to Take Care of Yourself
It may surprise you that Americans gain an estimated average of at least one pound over the festive season. While that may not sound like much, it adds up year after year, and most people do not ever lose it. Worse still, already being overweight at the holidays makes it likely you will gain even more. Fortunately, there are some easy to follow tips that will help you avoid packing on the pounds.
It seems that most of the foods we love this time of year are carb-loaded, fat-filled, sugary treats. Trying to deprive yourself of these completely can backfire, so it’s better to be aware of portion sizes and, when possible, fill up on fruits and vegetables before being confronted with the typically unhealthy choices at events.
Some healthier snack options include:
- Reduced-fat cheeses
- Hummus and veggies
- Skinless meats
- Sweet potatoes
You can even further support your health when you eat homemade foods without preservatives or added salts and sugars and focus on grass-fed beef, healthy grains, and free-range poultry and dairy products. Eating slowly and carefully will also allow you to hear your body’s fullness signals better.
Neglecting to exercise can have lasting effects on your weight after the holidays are over, but, unfortunately, many holiday traditions, such as family movie nights, involve sitting around. If you are hesitant to work out for fear of missing out on the time you could spend with family and friends over the holidays, get them involved, and exercise together. Go on walks to look at Christmas lights, play a friendly game of baseball or football in your yard, or run in holiday-themed races as a group. These activities allow you to make holiday memories and spend time with loved ones while using food you have consumed for energy.
When you do not get enough sleep, your circadian rhythm is disrupted. As a result, you experience increases in ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, and decreases in leptin, the hormone that signals your body that you have eaten enough. Because hormones control our digestion, in addition to many other functions, keeping them in balance is essential. Getting enough sleep also helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces stress.
Drinking alcohol during the holidays can quickly widen your waistline due to the high calories and sugar found in many popular boozy beverages. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol weakens your inhibitions and leads to the desire to binge unhealthy foods. One such offender is the winter weather staple, eggnog, which packs high calorie and fat counts. When you cannot abstain altogether, your best bets for alcohol are limiting the number of drinks you have and choosing wine, sparkling water, or light beer.
A study by The Journal of Nutrition found that when young women were even a little dehydrated, it led to headaches, mood changes, and energy loss. Drinking plenty of water helps prevent those symptoms while making you feel full and allowing you to minimize unnecessary snacking. For a holiday-themed but healthy treat, make flavored water using ingredients such as mint, rosemary, cinnamon, pomegranate, turmeric, ginger, lavender, or basil. This recipe from Taste of Home is particularly delicious:
- Combine 4 cardamom pods, ½ small, sliced navel orange, and water
- Add ingredients to a large pitcher
- Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours for best flavor
- Strain before serving
If you want to add effective supplements to supercharge your weight control or loss, it may be time to implement metabolic aids into your daily routine. B vitamins, such as those in our Super B Complex, support carbohydrate metabolism. Similarly, Chito-Slim helps you feel full by suppressing your appetite and unhealthy cravings while converting fat molecules into those the human body cannot absorb. 7 Keto, a natural hormone metabolite of DHEA, aids in thermogenesis, or the heat production used to burn food energy, in a process that stimulates weight loss and reduces cortisone’s conversion to cortisol so it cannot modify into fat.
Dr. Randolph’s Helps You Stay Healthy
While it can seem daunting to stay healthy over the holidays, it is possible. All it takes is paying a little more attention to what you do and eat while giving your body the extra support it needs. Implementing these tips will help you enjoy this time without regret, shame, or stubborn weight gain. For guidance on weight maintenance or loss and to learn more about the vitamins and supplements that can help you age and live well year-round, visit Dr. Randolph’s Wellness Store, and contact us today.