How to Avoid Gaining Weight During the Holidays

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The holidays are official here, which means millions of Americans will be taking time off work to socialize with their friends and family. It’s a joyous time that allows us to reflect on what’s truly important in life. While fun, however, the holidays also comes with an unwanted side effect: weight gain. According to a study conducted by researchers from Food and Brand Lab, the average U.S. adult gains about 1.3 pounds from Christmas to the New Year. Some people, of course, gain more weight during this time of year. The good news is that you can still enjoy the holidays while maintaining a healthy weight by following these tips.


Exercise Indoors

One of the reasons so many people gain weight during the holidays is because it’s cold outside. After Thanksgiving, the temperatures will quickly drop, promoting many people stay indoors. As a result, they become less active while spending more time sitting on the couch. If you’re looking to stay fit this holiday season, focus your physical activity regimen around exercises that you can perform indoors. Indoor exercises allow you to burn calories and body fat from the comfort of your climate-controlled home.

Here are some easy indoor exercises that can help you stay fit during holidays:

  • Push-ups
  • Running on a treadmill
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Planks
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Aerobics


Choose Smaller Portions

Be mindful of portion sizes when preparing your plate during the holidays. It’s easy to overeat during the holidays because you are typically given full control over your portion sizes. Many people fill their plates with oversized portions of food that contain tons of calories, sodium, sugar and fat. To prevent holiday-related weight gain, choose smaller portions of food. Remember, you can always go back for seconds, so there’s really no need to stuff your plate with double-sized portions. Choosing smaller portions will, not surprisingly, reduce the amount of food you consume during the holidays, resulting in a slimmer waistline.


Skip Dessert

Skipping dessert can help you maintain a slimmer figure throughout the holidays. Just a single slide of pumpkin pie contains about 25 grams of sugar and more than 320 calories. After eating a full meal, those added sugars and calories can contribute to weight gain. If you’re going to eat dessert, choose something that’s light and low in sugar and calories. Otherwise, you should skip dessert during the holidays to prevent weight gain.


Eat Slower

Research has shown that people who eat slow are less likely to gain weight than their fast-eating counterparts. A study cited by Time found that people who eat at a “normal” pace are 29% less likely to be overweight than fast-eaters. People who eat a “slow” pace,” however, were 42% less likely to be overweight than fast-eaters. So, take your time and enjoy your holiday meals by eating more slowly.



Make Your Own Healthy Dishes

Whether you’re attending or hosting a holiday dinner, consider making your own healthy dishes. Doing so will give you peace of mind knowing that your foods and side items aren’t filled with an excessive amount of calories, fat, sodium or sugar. If you rely on your friends and family members to make everything, you won’t know what’s in the foods and side items. Some of them may be healthy, but others could be loaded with bad ingredients that contribute to your holiday weight gain.


Eat More Protein

Including more protein in your diet can curb hunger cravings during the holiday and therefore help you maintain a healthy weight. Protein has been shown to increase levels of hormones in the body that suppress appetite. When you consume meat, nuts or other protein-rich foods, you’ll feel fuller. And when your hunger cravings subside, you’ll be less likely to continue eating. Just remember to choose lean sources of protein that aren’t filled with saturated fat. Beef and pork, while high in protein, also contain lots of saturated fat. Chicken, turkey and fish, on the other hand, are high in protein and low in saturated fat.


Beware of Digestive Disorders

Certain digestive disorders can contribute to weight gain during the holidays. Celiac disease, for example, is a common digestive disorder from which roughly 3 million Americans suffer. This digestive autoimmune-related disease is essentially an allergy to gluten — a grain-based protein found in oats, barley, rye, spelt and wheat. If you suffer from celiac disease and unknowingly consume a food or beverage containing gluten, your immune system will attack your stomach, believing the gluten is a foreign invader. Symptoms of celiac disease can vary, though many people have trouble losing weight because of the way in which it affects the digestive system. Therefore, it’s important that people suffering from celiac disease avoid all sources of gluten during the holidays.


If you believe that a digestive disorder like celiac disease is preventing you from losing weight, contact us today.

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