It’s the time of year where holiday food and treat temptations continue to add up. To say this season has a reputation in the health and well-being department is likely an understatement. It’s also not just a reputation.
According to research from Cornell University, holiday weight gain is real. The study discovered that in the United States, weight begins to rise throughout October and November for Americans, peaking 10 days after Christmas. While average weight gain wasn’t large, about 1.3 pounds, the number is still significant and concerning to many.
It doesn’t, however, have to remain this way. Here are six tips to help keep you on your wellness game during the holidays.
While drinking the recommended eight glasses of water per day is important, there is more to staying hydrated. Many people become dehydrated quicker during the colder months simply because they do not realize how much moisture they are losing. Further benefits to hydration include fighting off sickness and shedding those unwanted pounds. Studies show that water helps people feel full and consume fewer calories.
2. Come hungry, but not starving, to big meals
Another expectation of the holiday season is big lavish meals. While it may seem like a smart idea to fast or minimally eat leading up to the big meal, it’s better to not skip meals throughout the day. If you do, it could result in overeating.
Pace yourself to ensure you are hungry come meal time, but not starving. To do this, stock yourself full of fiber-rich foods that will satisfy hunger like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
3. Don’t deprive yourself
It can be hard to say no to certain foods based on the amount of work that goes into holiday events. Keep in mind that it’s okay to indulge by eating in moderation (a tactic that is beneficial all year long).
Think about your daily calorie intake like a savings account. You can plan accordingly and still enjoy those delicious holiday items that show up only during this time of the year. Allow yourself to have dessert, a serving of a favorite side dish, or a glass of wine and don’t feel guilty. That glass of red wine can actually be helping you prevent heart disease and stroke. Eating your favorite foods within reason can also help avoid feelings of deprivation and decrease the chance of overeating.4. Take advantage of nutritious foods
Yes, many of the traditional festive holiday foods are not known for their nutritious value, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of healthy foods this holiday season. White meat turkey can help fulfill this requirement as it is low in saturated fats and an excellent source of protein that can keep you full.
The fall also produces an abundant amount of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables that are in season including squash, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, cranberry, and more. These can be turned into delicious side dishes as well as liven up the color on your plate to be even more festive.5. Remain active
It can be appealing to ditch your standard exercise routine during the holiday season. This can obviously cause more harm than good. It doesn’t take long for the body to start losing strength and if you remain inactive for too long, it could take you even longer to get back to your original fitness levels.
Make it a priority to remain active. You can even incorporate activities with friends and family—participate in a holiday-themed 5k, head out on walks and hiking trips, or play a friendly game of flag football.6. Don’t be afraid to seek out support
Balancing family, work, healthy eating, and exercise during the holidays is challenging. A little help can go a long way. Take advantage of resources that are at your disposable. Talk to friends and co-workers to gain insight on what works for them. Better yet, see what your workplace well-being program offers. Health coaching is a great and effective way to not only be successful during the holidays, but make a positive impact on health all year long.
Ultimately, enjoying the holiday season while keeping your well-being top of mind is possible. Follow these tips and you’ll prepare yourself for a good foundation for the year ahead as well.
The StayWell Team