It’s not as hard as you think to avoid holiday weight gain. I promise. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to either gain weight or sit on the sidelines of all the holiday festivities and feasting. In fact, there are lots of great reasons you should diet in December. Most people gain 5-10 pounds in the time between Thanksgiving and New Years, and then they write their New Years Resolutions to lose the same weight they just put on. This can be cyclical, happening every single year. But doesn’t that sound like a really crazy way to live?
Here are 3 doable tips to help you stay on track this holiday season while still having fun. They come straight from my book, Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace! Not only does this book help you to avoid seasonal weight gain, but it also teaches you how to use mindfulness to make your holidays less overwhelming, and it offers a slew of holiday hacks to help you stay truly organized. I hope you consider picking up a copy, because I know it will help make your holidays much less stressful.
3 Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
1. Follow the Smoothie Salad Sanity Plan
This is a super easy way to make sure you fill up on all the healthy foods your body needs on a daily basis. There are two problems with holiday eating. First, of course, is that we eat too many treats and rich foods. (We’ll address that in Step 2). The other problem with seasonal eating is that we tend to be deficient in essential nutrients. This happens because at the same time we overindulge in bad foods, we edge out a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Smoothie Salad Sanity Plan is very easy to follow. Include a smoothie with colorful fruits and greens in your breakfast. That will load you up with vitamins and minerals. Make your lunch a big green salad with lots of colorful chopped veggies, a clean protein source, and a vinaigrette dressing. That’s basically it. In Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace and on the cheat sheet provided with the book, you will find recipe formulas to follow, but the basic plans is to fill yourself with high quality nutrients for 2/3 of your day. Your body will have more energy, a strengthened immune system, and a tip top digestive flow if you do this.
2. Eat only the BEST!
Step 1 got you 2/3s of the way through the day, and that will definitely keep you in check, but this step helps you to navigate all the good foods that are abundant during the holidays. Nobody want to miss out on the special recipes that are only made in December, so it’s easy to go overboard. I don’t call for deprivation, because it would be sad to miss out on favorite treats. Instead, raise your standards.
Eat only the very best foods. Right now, take a minute and list all the wonderful holiday treats you look forward to all year. Some of these may be fancy, but this could also include a favorite dish your aunt makes. The foods that come to mind right now are worth the splurge. They will make you happy, so go ahead and indulge without guilt.
However, eschew all the other treats you encounter. They are the real culprit. These food aren’t even on your mind until you see them, and when you eat them, they don’t really give you much pleasure. Why waste the calories? What’s special about the box of doughnuts drizzled with green and red frosting in the break room? You didn’t even think about eating them until they were there, and it certainly isn’t something truly special and seasonal.
There is always less of the best to go around and this helps with portion control. Less fine French champagne is passed around than bottles of beer. There are fewer artisan truffles than red and green m&ms. You see what I mean? Choosing to eat only the best is a self-regulating process, because there are always finite amounts of spectacular treats.
3. Exercise in the mornings!
Even if you are naturally a night owl, during the holidays you should switch to a morning exercise routine. This will not only keep your body fit, but it will be a daily stress-reliever. During the holidays there are lots of errands and events. These pop into lunch breaks and frequently overtake afternoons and evenings. If that is the time you plan on exercising, it is likely your plans will be derailed. But how often do you get interrupted at 6 am? It just doesn’t happen. Taking a little time to take care of yourself every morning means you will actually stay on track. It also sets you up to make better choices throughout the day.
Think about waking up early, exercising, and having a green smoothie for breakfast. You follow that by eating a big fat salad for lunch. From then on, you still eat clean, but you thoroughly enjoy your favorite holiday treats when they are available. That’s a much happier expression of the holidays than munching on store bought doughnuts, regular candy colored red and green, and defrosted appetizers that were made in a factory. It would be pretty hard to gain weight if you followed these three simple steps. In fact, you might just lose a few pounds.
Don’t forget to snag your copy of Stress Free Holidays for even more season weight loss tips and insights to help you have a more joyful and peaceful holiday season!