Health for the Holidays

Health for the Holidays

Keep the focus on your health this festive season.
Make wise decisions for food choices for your meals and snacks, especially when eating away from home.

With the holiday season approaching, the urge to indulge is bound to increase. During holiday time, with celebrations, family gatherings, and lower activity, our weight may increase substantially in a short period of time. A study by the University of Calgary found that:

“Canadians who are overweight or obese are more likely to register holiday weight gain, with an average increase of 0.5 kilograms (1.1 pounds)”.

While this weight gain may not sound substantial, it accumulates over the years. Many of us go back to our normal routines without shedding this weight, becoming overweight with time.

5 Realistic Tips to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holiday Season:

#1 Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to the present moment. Be present with your food, enjoy the flavors, textures, and aromas, and listen your body's hunger and fullness cues. Avoid distractions while eating, such as watching TV, or working on the computer. This will help you to eat more slowly and savor your food, which can help you consume fewer calories overall. Also, be mindful of your emotional eating, as it directly leads to holiday weight gain. Consider alternatives such as exercising, relaxing, and socially interacting without a focus on food.

Our “Curb Your Cravings” online course will help you stay healthy this festive season.

#2 Make Healthy Choices at Holiday Parties and Gatherings

Family gatherings and parties are filled with celebration and delicious food. With so many choices at the buffet, one might be tempted to pick the sugary treats or deep-fried delicacies. It is one of the times when people overindulge and gain weight, whether it is a work party or a family event.

Fill your plate with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and seek healthier recipes. Choose lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. Consider having a light healthy snack or meal before you go to a party. You will feel more in control, and less likely to overeat. Take charge of your healthy eating, and say “NO” when you do not want to eat or drink, no matter what the situation.

#3 Set Realistic Goals

During festivities, our food intake increases, our physical activity decreases, and we consume holiday foods that tend to be high in calories and sugar. Thus, setting a weight loss goal during the holiday season may seem unrealistic. It's challenging to stick to a weight loss plan when you are surrounded by temptations.

The right thing to do is to focus on maintaining your current weight, with the aim of not gaining extra pounds. To do this, pay attention to your hunger cues, manage your stress, be assertive, and choose healthy foods and drinks more often. Don’t forget to add a daily routine of 30 minutes of physical activity and you are ready to enjoy the holidays!

#4 Don't Be Discouraged If You Slip Up

It's not unusual to slip up with your health goals during the holidays. However, the problem arrives when it derails the entire progress. After the minor slip-up, people beat themselves up, and it leads to negative emotions and makes getting back on track more difficult than ever.

The right thing to do here is to be curious, to acknowledge your mistakes, and forgive yourself. It's better to learn from your mistakes and focus on a healthier journey this entire holiday season. Remember that every meal is a new opportunity to get back on track.

#5 Get Enough Sleep

Due to increased social engagements, increased stress, and changes in routine, people don’t make enough time to sleep. In this case, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can increase your appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods, such as high sugar and high fat foods. It interferes with the production of leptin, a hormone that signals to your brain that you're full. Besides, sleep deprivation impairs decision-making and judgement skills, making it difficult to resist unhealthy eating.

At this crucial time, it's important to stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Take a warm bath, listen to calming music, and disconnect from screens an hour before going to bed. Caffeine and alcohol may also disrupt sleep. Having a dark, quiet and cool bedroom helps ensure a regular sleep at night. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Support.

If you struggle with holiday weight gain and want to change your story this year? You are not alone. Seek support ↗ to develop a personalized nutrition plan, and strategies to kick start your resolutions prior to the New Year.

Did You Know?
Your nutrition plan was never meant to be perfect. Following the 80/20 rule is fundamental in achieving success. Eighty percent of the time we should make food choices to optimize health. The twenty percent means that we need to allocate a small indulgence or two each week. This is all part of a healthy eating plan.
“ Achieving My Goal is Possible “
Michelle Deschenes really made me feel like achieving my goals is possible. Michelle gave me lots of encouragement, information and tips. Her approach is not about deprivation, but more about finding a healthy balance, which I loved.
~ Maria B.
“ I am Excited to Work with ACE Nutrition “
Michelle Deschenes is a wealth of information about nutrition and health. Michelle provided me with helpful resources and information to help support my journey towards achieving my goal. I am excited to be working with her!
~ Diane N.
“ It is Fabulous “
I just signed up and completed the 6 lessons of the online course (Nutrition for Life) at my own pace on the weekend. It is fabulous! So much information on many levels.
~ Catherine B., College Instructor
“ Surprisingly Easy Weight Loss Process “
Michelle brings a wealth of information along with energy and enthusiasm in helping her clients achieve their goals. The best part for me has been how surprisingly easy the weight loss process has been after years of struggling on my own.
~ William K.
“ I Got the Energy I Needed “
As I approach retirement age many younger people ask me how I get my energy. Michelle has taught me good nutrition from real food to get the energy I need. Now I am so sick of hearing others say "I cannot eat these carbs", when I know better.
~ Linda U.
“ I Shed a Great Deal of Weight “
Michelle Deschenes helped me shed a great deal of weight. Encouraged me to cook more healthy foods and kept me motivated.
~ Sherri P.
“ I’ve had Great Success “
I’ve been working with Michelle for a few months now, with great success. You’ll achieve results, and learn food strategies that you will carry with you long after your program is complete.
~ Karen O.
“ Smart Choices Without Deprivation “
Michelle Deschenes gave me so much material to help me make smart choices without deprivation. I appreciate that she enjoys real food and being healthy.
~ Tina C.
“ ACE Nutrition is Always Encouraging “
Michelle Deschenes is always encouraging and teaching that with small steps I can reach my goals. I have learned that if I eat for nutrition and wellbeing, weight loss will follow. It is somewhat of a trust exercise: stop depriving yourself and eat well instead. Thanks for helping me.
~ Tanie S.