Take a good, long look in the mirror because this may be the lightest you’ll weigh over the next three months – unless you make a weight resolution now. Holiday weight gain is for real and here’s what you need to do to avoid it.
You wait to make a weight resolution
Recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine show the weight you gain during the holidays is for real and it starts when you raid your kid’s Halloween candy and lasts until the last bacon-wrapped hors d’oeuvre is devoured on New Year’s Eve. Even more depressing, the study revealed the extra weight can take over 5 months to lose! Resolve to avoid holiday weight gain now, instead of tackling it in the new year.
You don’t check your stress
Merrymaking, as fun as it is, also comes with a cranky stress hormone called cortisol which wreaks havoc on your waistline. Let’s say your flight is delayed, or you drop the turkey pan on the floor an hour before your guests arrive: your body springs into action and releases cortisol. We don’t like cortisol. It’s like the cousin no one wants to sit next to at dinner. Cortisol can cause higher insulin levels, making your blood sugar drop and the next thing you know, you’re shoveling pecan pie in your mouth to soothe yourself. Keep yourself in check and identify the stress for what it is. Have a mantra handy like, “ I choose to give thanks for the many blessings and the loving family I have.”
You prolong the feast
Thanksgiving is ONE meal, yet the feasting usually spans the entire weekend. By Monday morning you cannot button your pants. If you’re the host, divide up the leftovers and send them packing with your guests. If you’re the guest and the leftovers stay with the family, get back on track Friday morning and eat as you normally would. Choose one favorite leftover or small piece of pie but avoid having another feast with leftovers. Stay on course for the celebrations that follow, whether its Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa and strive to get back in your routine the next day.
You cancel your workout on Friday
Again, it’s that long Thanksgiving weekend that sets the stage to lure us away from our normal routine till January. Skip out on your morning walk or HIIT class a few times and you’ll find yourself on the slippery slope of excuses that result in extra pounds creeping up week by week. Resolve to stay active now and stick to your normal physical activity of choice as much as possible. Start by taking a brisk walk before the festivities. I know, you’re crazy busy, but even 15 minutes will do wonders for your stress levels. After the big feast, take another stroll with the family. Just don’t defeat the purpose by eating a piece of the leftover pie when you return.
You have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head
Going to bed on a full belly doesn’t bode well with the dream fairies. Your body works hard and requires energy to digest food so instead of shutting down and snoozing, you toss and turn. The process is further compounded when you add alcohol to the mix. Sure, it makes you drowsy in the beginning but a few hours later, you may find yourself waking up several times and not waking up so bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
Your bowels are upset
It doesn’t take much for a tidy and comfortable routine to go haywire during the holidays. Traveling and merrymaking disrupt seemingly normal habits – like going poop. If you find yourself bloated, constipated and cranky, it’s a sure sign you’re off your routine. Fill your glass with water instead of pop, coffee, and booze. Lace up your sneakers and get walking and opt for more veggies instead of starchy sides and bread rolls.