The holidays are often our favorite (and, if we’re being honest, most stressful) time of the year. From Halloween through New Year’s Day, it’s all about family, friends, and, of course, food. There are big family meals, smaller friend potlucks, work parties, school parties, etc. Food is everywhere. Usually this is the time of year when we toss our healthy eating plans out the window and vow to work off the weight we gain starting on January 1st. But what if this year you had a different plan?
If you’re consuming foods high in fat or packed with excess sugar, you could be unknowingly sabotaging your flat belly efforts.
Even if your goal isn’t necessarily a flat belly, it’s important to be aware of the danger that too much indulgence can pose to your health (and, yes, to your appearance). Thankfully, there are ways that you can enjoy all of those holiday parties, meals, and treats without having to worry about packing on excess pounds. In fact, if you follow our advice, you might even lose weight!
- Skip the Booze
Alcohol has a tremendously high caloric content. By eliminating the alcohol from your diet over the holidays you will automatically cut your caloric intake by hundreds of calories. Drink water instead. Water is calorie-free and, as you know, proper hydration is important! If you hate the idea of totally abstaining, limit yourself to a single beer or a single drink and then switch to water afterwards. Think of all the hangovers you’ll avoid!
- Portion Control
It isn’t necessarily that the food you’re eating is bad for you. In fact, some of it is likely completely healthy. The problem is the amount of food you’re eating. Piling your plate high at every meal is not the way to keep your health in check. Instead, limit yourself to smaller portions so that you can still try everything without feeling as guilty.
- Plan Ahead
If you know you’re going to be having a huge meal in the evening, opt for small and very healthy breakfasts and lunches. This way if you do end up overdoing it at dinner, it will all work out, calorie-wise. Just make sure that you’re still following the rules of nutrition!
- Get Up and Get Moving
Most of us gain weight over the holidays because, in addition to all of the big and hearty meals we eat, we spend most of our time bundled up at home. We curl up on couches and chairs and read or watch movies because it’s too gross to go outside for very long. That sedentary lifestyle allows the fat to accumulate. If you want to keep that from happening, you have to get up and get moving!
You don’t have to leave the house to exercise. There are plenty of ways to work out right in your living room. Work out while you watch TV instead of sitting there. Switch to a standing desk at work (or, better, a treadmill desk). Have an at-home dance party before bed. Don’t just sit there!
- Cut Yourself Some Slack
Stress is abundant during the holidays. Stress is also a large factor in the amount of weight people gain, and that’s not just because many among us are stress-eaters. Try to take some time for yourself to relax and do your own thing. Pamper yourself a little bit. Give yourself some room to breathe. You don’t have to be perfect.
There are lots of reasons that we gain weight over the holidays. It isn’t just about how much food we eat. It’s about how much we drink, how much time we spend sitting around, our stress levels, etc. Use these tips to help you keep your weight under control so that by the time your New Year’s Resolutions come up, you’ll already be ahead of the game!