“Holiday Weight Gain” is like an annual uninvited guest. Most of us might begin this holiday season with some additional pounds and emotional eating due to the ongoing pandemic. Does that mean we all are going to step in the New Year with some extra unwanted kilos?
Well, there is another way around it – to keep yourself in check by being more mindful and tracking your every move.
- Start planning your Holidays well in advance.
- Start by maintaining a Journal/Note-pad.
- Regularize your meals (2 home-cooked meals) & workout schedules (even as short as 15min, is okay).
- Start tracking your weight, water, meals & activity on a daily basis.
- Become more mindful by chewing each bite 25 to 30 times.
- Have 2 home cooked meals per day.
Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain:
- Try to have your meals the same time each day.
- Slow down while eating, chew 25-30 times, and do not multitask.
- Portion control by serving your food on a smaller plate.
- Ditch the bad fats/fattening foods/sugary foods/bakery items (limiting the portion to bite-size).
- Out of sight is out of mind – Keep the carbonated drinks/alcohol/fast foods/chocolates out of sight.
- Lean proteins (mushrooms, cottage cheese, tofu, broccoli, lentils, beans, eggs, chicken, fish (boiled/grilled/stewed/soups) is a must in every meal along with complex carbs (rice/oats/millets/fruits/grains).
- Fill your plate with fibers like whole fruits & veggies/sprouts/cooked beans/whole grains & pulses/nuts & oats.
Do not forget to track & journal every meal to help you be more observant.
- Maintain a min. hydration of 3ltrs water/day.
- Improve hydration with mineral rich beverages like, lemon water/coconut water/soups.
- Avoid zero-calorie drinks & carbonated drinks in any form.
- Limit alcohol as much as possible.
- Keep moving as much as possible even on holidays. Squeeze in 10-15 mins of workout of any form.
- Remember working out is more about maintaining weight loss than losing weight in the first place.
- Accommodate 10-15 mins of indoor maintenance activity with push-ups/pull-ups to help maintain muscle mass/lean mass.
- Never forget those protein rich meals to maintain the lean mass as well.
- Stay consistent and add in a variety (jog/run/cycle/skip/swim) to spice up your holidays.
- SLEEP & RECOVERY:
- Maintain a regular bedtime as your muscles need rest & recovery to grow & heal and to maintain the right weight even during holidays.
- Prioritizing your sleep during the holidays is so important because deprivation from sleep will lead to-increased anxiety & depression, over-packed schedule & over exposure to bright light.
- Avoid any form of caffeine like coffee, tea, cocoa, avoid heavy workouts, & have a light dinner.
- Try to sleep 2 hours post dinner.
Few Additional Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain:
- Pay close attention to the signs of hunger & fullness by engaging all your sense organs. Savor all your meals and avoid distractions from electronic devices/newspapers. Ensure you chew slowly and enjoy every morsel.
- Practice Mindful Eating by fine tuning your appetite and curb impulsive eating.
- It’s okay to indulge in your favorite desserts without guilt in the holidays, keeping in mind not to repeat them often post holidays and keeping a check on the portions too.
- Always glance through the pantry/layout even before you fill-up your plate with those unrequired calorie-laden foods. As a thumb rule always fill half your plate with your favorites and fill in the other half with veggies, grains, & proteins so you maintain a balanced diet along with keeping in check your taste palate.
- Following an 80:20 ratio always helps no matter where you plan your holidays. 80% of the time focus on plant-based foods like lentils, grains, nuts & veggies as they help to cut out high caloric foods. As they are rich in fiber, they help keep us satisfied & fuller for longer and feel nourished. The other 20% of the time, you could have an animal-based diet or any of your favorite choices as you know to keep a check on your portion sizes.
Hope these tips come in handy and useful to enjoy your heart-out this holiday season.
Happy Holidays. 😊
Written by Ananya Bhattacharya, ENHAPP Wellness Coach & Nutritionist