While the holidays can be a time filled with laughter, warmth, and joy, it can also bring on high levels of stress. When you’re managing family dynamics, spending hours decorating, planning travel logistics and preparing menus, holiday cheer can fall on the backburner.
Luckily, after you read this, you won’t have to add losing 10 lbs to your New Year’s Resolutions. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll feel less stressed about eating around the holidays and you’ll stay exactly where you need to be.
Make an effort to avoid extreme behavior in either category. This may be easier said than done. Especially when you’re only guaranteed a platter of decadent dessert, eggnog, or latkes once a year. With that said, there will always be an opportunity to indulge in your favorite treats again. While everyone should allow themselves to enjoy a full meal and taste-test the assortment of holiday goods, try not to overeat to the point where you feel sick or like you need to overcompensate the next day. Caroline West Passerrello, a nationally recognized and award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, an Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and an owner of her own practice, explains what overeating entails.
“The term ‘overeating’ from a scientific standpoint means that someone who has overeating has consumed more calories than their body needed to use for energy at that time. Energy balance equations tell us that frequently eating more calories than the body will use for energy will result in your body storing excess energy.” Passarello says.
Studies show that diets can actually lead people to gain weight so you want to avoid subjecting yourself to extreme mindsets where you need to lose a quick and intense number. Your body will probably recover, but you may not feel great mentally after. When you feel bloated or heavier than usual, it’s more difficult to find the motivation to workout. Plus, if you make a habit out of binging on the holidays, you’ll have a harder time getting back to your normal eating pattern after.
Once again, this isn’t a simple task. Between setting up holiday decorations, spending time with family and staying on top of work or school, this can present quite a challenge. Even if you aren’t able to keep up the same routine, try and stay active in some capacity so that you don’t completely fall out of the habit of working out and going to the gym. As the weather changes and staying home sounds increasingly enticing, it can be easy to completely halt your workout routine. Then, when you finally return to the gym after two months of absence, it can be even more difficult to get back into it. So, it’s important to keep some kind of activity in your life so that you don’t feel like you’re completely starting over after the New Year.
While constantly stepping on the scale may not always be encouraging or healthy, it’s important to keep track of where you’re at. Many times, people assume that they’ve gained an enormous amount of weight on the holidays which discourages them from taking action to lose it. Studies show that when people think they’ve gained weight, they actually turn to food as comfort. This creates a difficult cycle to break. When you avoid checking yourself, you sometimes assume the worst. While you may feel an initial sting after gaining a few pounds, those feelings will subside once you’re back to your normal self. So rather than let fear of the worst consume you for several weeks or months, maybe just cut the suspense and see where you’re at sooner rather than later.
Another way to keep track of yourself is by using the EZPT app. EZPT is an app that can help you track yourself while you’re working out so that you can get virtual personal training in real-time. This is a quick, cheap, and accessible way to stay on top of your goals and actually track your progress. Plus, you’ll receive science-based guidance on how to improve your form so that you can get the most out of your workout in the time that you put aside for it.
According to a study, the average American gains about one net pound over the holiday season. Even though researchers claim that Americans rarely end up losing that one pound, and it adds up each year contributing to adulthood weight gain. Regardless, this single pound doesn’t carry much weight — literally and figuratively. At the end of the day, gaining one, two, or five pounds during the holiday season doesn’t set a precedent for the new year.
Pssarello encourages her patients to refrain from putting too much attention on food and weight during these couple months.
“I encourage my clients to avoid the scale, seek satisfaction from their food, focus on family not food at the holidays, and remember that food intake and lifestyle behaviors over time are more influential to our health than what happens over just one or two days a year.” Passarello says.
As long as you make an effort to stay aware of what you’re eating and be vigilant about staying active, you should have no problem bouncing right back to where you were.
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