I’ve spent many past holiday seasons either pregnant or with a young baby. In fact, this year marks the first time in ten years I am neither pregnant nor in the postpartum stage.
After so many years of keeping my weight in check while pregnant (or working to drop the baby weight) throughout the holidays, I’ve learned a few ways to battle the holiday bulge and maintaining a steady weight over the holidays.
3 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Tip #1: Take Care of Yourself
Learning to take care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your growing family and is an essential element in reducing holiday weight gain.
Since most people overeat when stressed, you can set yourself up for success by working to lower your stress levels. Try to get enough sleep (new Mamas: the early days are exhausting, hang in there), plan a holiday schedule that works for your growing family,and learn to say no.
Say no to holidays gatherings that are extra (or just feel like too much). It’s okay to not attend every function, visit with every extended family member, or eat every feast. If it’s causing you stress, just say no.
It’s better to have truly enjoyed your times with friends and family then to have run yourself ragged in the process of taking care of everyone except yourself.
Tip #2: Savor your Food
Arguably the biggest factor in avoiding weight gain is your diet.
Not every day throughout the holiday season is a party with a buffet of delicious food. Take a chance to carefully plan your meals on days that are a more normal schedule. Avoid party leftovers and fill your body with healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to set yourself up for success.
During holiday get togethers, continue eating well-portioned meals at mealtimes. Don’t skip eating so that you’ll have extra room for partytime as this leads to overeating.
When choosing food at a party take a look at all the options ahead of time.
Skip foods you don’t really want and stick to what you love (with moderation in mind). If you pick something new to try and don’t enjoy it, don’t feel the need to eat every bite.
Most buffets have so many options, it’s important to take a smaller portion than you normally might. Once you have your food, move away from the serving area so you don’t end up grazing. Eat slowly and savor each bite of your food.
Tip #3: Exercise
Being in a consistent exercise routine is both a way to relieve stress as well as a way to keep weight gain under control.
If you’re in a habit of exercising regularly, don’t fall off the bandwagon around the holidays. Even though a different daily schedule means you might not be as consistent, exercise as regularly as you can.
If you haven’t gotten into good exercise habits, the holidays are a great time to begin. Having a break from work and more flexibility to your days will help you develop a routine that meets your needs. While it takes more than a week to develop a solid routine, every day of exercise is a deposit towards a healthy you.