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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.