Once we move into October, there is an anticipation and building excitement growing for the coming holiday season. It all starts with Halloween, the great festival of indulgence. Once we have finished off the last fun-size Snickers bar, Thanksgiving is there to fill our bellies with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. The next 6 weeks is an onslaught of stressful shopping, company parties, visiting relatives, and tempting treats and goodies. It is hard enough trying to eat healthly, let alone staying on a consistent fitness training schedule. Avoiding holiday weight gain can seem like an almost impossible task.
If you are reading this article, there is a good chance last New Year you made a resolution to lose weight and get fit. You spent all year working toward this goal. Today, you have either reached your target weight or have made good progress toward it. However, now that the holidays are upon us once again, you fear that you will start to regain all that lost fat. Don’t worry. Today’s article will provide you with some useful advice for avoiding holiday weight gain.
Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
1. The One Meal Rule – The rule states: One bad meal will not cause you to gain weight, and one good meal will not make you healthy. If you are otherwise eating healthy and exercising, there is really no reason not to give yourself permission to indulge temptations on a few targeted days. It is one less thing to stress about, and we all know how stress can cause weight gain. So, start with a certain level of acceptance. It will make things a lot easier.
2. Track Your Calories – If you are not already, start tracking your calories with a food journal or a phone app. I recommend FatSecret, which is free and has many great features. I make this recommendation not so much for holiday meals, but to keep you focused and on track for all the other days. Then, your holiday meals can be used as cheat meals, which may actually help boost your metabolism and burn fat.
3. Calorie Cycling – One weight loss trick that works year-round is calorie cycling. Let’s say you have a daily goal of 2000 calories. Rather than strictly adhering to a daily number, focus on a weekly average. One day, you can target 2000 calories. The next day is 1750 calories. The day after that is 2250 calories. There are some benefits to cycling, but, around the holidays, it allows you to bank some calories for holiday meals.
4. Carb Cycling – This is another handy little trick that you can use with calorie cycling, or you can use carb cycling as a stand-alone strategy. Much like calorie cycling, you will create different goals for different days of the week, except this time with your macros: carbs, protein, and fat. This technique is also intended to increase fat burning. However, during the holidays, you will be better able to plan and schedule for those carb-heavy meals.
5. Avoid Alcohol – You likely already know that alcohol is an obstacle to losing weight and getting fit. That said, it is an even greater hindrance during the holidays. Once you have a few drinks down, your inhibitions start to go away. At some point, you are going to stop thinking or caring about what you are eating. Without alcohol, you will be able to maintain some self-control and have some ability to avoid temptation. With alcohol, all bets are off.
6. Bring Healthy Treats – It is just rude not to eat what others have prepared and shared with you. Yet, it is also rude for a guest to come to a party empty-handed. Feel free to bring healthy alternatives to fattening holiday treats. You won’t be able to replace every unhealthy item, but you can give yourself and others at least one dessert alternative. Just make sure the dish is in the spirit of the season.
7. Create a Holiday Workout Schedule – Healthy eating is only part of the equation. Avoiding holiday weight gain will require that you keep to a regular fitness training schedule. This can be a difficult goal this time of year. So, make sure you map out your schedule early and aligning rest days to your holidays. You don’t want to let your fitness taking laps. Failing to regularly workout will contribute to holiday weight gain, and it can be sometimes difficult to restart if you stop.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions for avoiding holiday weight gain? Please leave your comments below.