Between the shopping and gift wrapping, baking and decorating, and endless holiday parties, you may find yourself a little more of a grinch than elf. The songs on the radio tell stories of good cheer, but we’re about to pull our hair out!
And when we are feeling a little Bah-humbug, we often find solace in a bag of chips or a plate of warm cookies. Does this sound familiar?
Unfortunatley, for many of us, whether you love the holidays or find yourself stressed out by them, food seems to be front and center. Food is comfort, delicious, joyful, relaxing, and possibly a little naughty. Sometimes it’s good to be a little naughty, right? 😉
However, too much joyful eating (or stress eating) can spell trouble. You might not notice it right away, but a few extra nibbles here and there adds up to a few pounds and tighter fitting jeans come the new year.
Have a Plan
We want to enjoy the holidays without experiencing the dreaded holiday weight gain that’s so common. So we’ve come up with a plan that anyone can follow.
- Eat Breakfast: This one should be pretty obvious, but eating breakfast is one of the most important habits you should have. By fueling your body soon after waking, you are literally breaking the overnight fast and giving your metabolism a jump start. Studies show that breakfast eaters are more successful at achieving and maintaining weight goals. Plus, you’ll make better food decisions later in the day if your tummy isn’t rumbling.
- Exercise in the morning: Just as important as eating breakfast is getting in your workout in the morning. It clears your head and revs up your energy for the day. And with all of the holiday eating going on, burning up a few hundred calories in the morning gives you a better chance at maintaining your weight during the next few weeks.
- Stay hydrated: We often confuse thirst with hunger- we think we’re hungry when we’re really thirsty. So the next time you find yourself dreaming of our Pumpkin Custard, go drink 8-12 ounces of water and wait 15 minutes. Chances are your body needs a little more fluid.
- Get plenty of sleep: Most people are running around a bit sleep deprived during the holidays. Parties keep us out well past our normal bedtime but we still have to wake up at the same time to keep our regular schedule. Unfortunately, sleeping fewer hours leads to a disruption of the chemicals in your brain that deal with hunger and fullness, which can leave you feeling hungrier and have a harder time feeling satiated. Make sure to make time for at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat every 2-3 hours: Take a balanced approach to eating – make sure you have some protein, vegetables, and healthy starch at each meal. This will give you a boost to your blood sugar and energy and keep it steady for a few hours. Don’t wait until you’re famished before eating again. Be ready to eat something with some protein and fiber about 2-3 hours after each meal to prevent your blood sugar level from crashing and you reaching for the cookie jar.
- Give yourself a “time out”: When the stress of the holidays have you ready to scream, give yourself a much-needed “time out”. Excuse yourself from whomever you are with or whatever you are doing and go and sit or lay down in a quiet room. Do some deep breathing and just relax. When you feel better, go back to what you were doing.
The holidays shouldn’t be about perfection – finding the perfect present, making the perfect meal, achieving the perfect story-book house. They are about spending quality time with friends and family (put down the smart phone and get off the tablet!), laughing, and making some memories that will last a lifetime.
And a few nibbles won’t hurt.