14 Tricky Holiday Habits that Cause Weight Gain

14 Tricky Holiday Habits that Cause Weight Gain

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1. Sweets are just everywhere

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Christmas cookies are all around. You can make them disappear without eating them. Move to another desk if colleagues bring too many sweets. If at home, put the candies in the kitchen cabinets and forget about them. Keep them out of sight. Having such treats stocked up at the office or at home make it very hard to keep track of how many you’ve in a day, hence the excess.

2. You’re putting the scale away

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Losing track of the progress you’ve made until now is a bad idea. Keep the scale in the bathroom but don’t put too much focus on it. “You’re going to eat more and that’s OK,” Lee says. Don’t stress over it. Rather, concentrate on self-care. Eat foods that are high in protein and avoid those rich on carbs. You’ll be fine. The scale is a good signal when you’re near overindulging.

3. Walking is for after the holidays

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This is a big NO. Relaxing doesn’t mean leading a sedentary lifestyle. Make time to go for a walk at least. “This is a very simple habit people forget to do,” Lee says. “But it can help a lot in preventing weight gain.” To turn it into a real workout, walk fast for 20 minutes or so. You’d be surprised how good you’ll feel after. Take your family on a walk if you need a little motivation. Every bit of movement counts so don’t stop. Don’t allow a busy holiday schedule to diminish the importance of your workout routine.

4. You’re underestimating the stress over shopping

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Just because stressing over getting the right gifts for you loved ones is normal this time of year, it doesn’t mean that it should be or that it can’t do a lot of damage. Newsflash: Stress can lead to lack of sleep. Both contribute to overeating, fatigue, and weight gain. Don’t try to be perfect and you’ll easily avoid this tricky holiday habit. When people are stresses, they reach for sugar, McEvoy says. “I recommend getting a magnesium supplement instead.” It takes 54 molecules of magnesium to process 1 molecule of sugar. Magnesium relaxes muscles, keeps you calm, and helps peaceful sleep.

5. Not getting enough sleep

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Missing out on a good night sleep is related to experiencing negative side effects such as no desire to workout due to low energy. Poor sleep habits can also affect your appetite as a lack of sleep leads to increased production of a hormone called ghrelin, which tricks the brain into telling us that we want to  eat more even after we’re full.

6. Trying a lot of every food on the table

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Put those leftovers away. Just because you’re standing with the fridge door open and having just a bite or two from that stuffing doesn’t mean your body is not taking in the calories. “I like to send my leftovers away with everybody,” McEvoys says. And it works. Licking the bowl after mixing that cookie recipe is a bad idea, too. Avoid this taste fest, especially when you’re cooking. A quick taste can easily turn into a whole meal and then you’re in trouble.

7. Too much bad food

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Going out too meet up with friends or ordering in because it’s the holidays and cooking is just too much of a bother easily leads to losing track of the quality of what you eat. A burger, fries and a soda easily range between 800 and 1,200 calories. That’s more than half of the recommended daily intake. All the fried picks and bites here and there add up quickly straight onto your waistline. Pick a favorite food and let it be your “go-to” when there are too many temptations around, McEvoy says. “You don’t have to try everything on the table.”

8. Giving yourself too many rewards

There is nothing wrong with rewards and everybody deserves them. However, many people don’t know how to treat themselves. They automatically turn to the sweet stuff. Don’t go for the high-sugar, high-fat drink with an apple pie. Pick just one. If you want a lot of sweet rewards, go online where you can find tons of healthy recipes of the same holiday treat, McEvoys says.

9. Eating a lot of every dessert

The excuse is common: This is a special occasion and I’m going to have a dessert. That’s great. The problem is that the special occasions this time of year are too many. Christmas dinner with the family, then the family of your spouse, then it’s the company holiday parties, then it’s New Year’s, etc. Pick one or two special occasions and stay on track on the rest of the days. Another trick is to eat only your absolute favorite foods at ever event. Don’t oversample.

10. Drinking more alcohol

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“There are so many parties, people tend to drink more than usual,” Lee says. “Most of my clients have faced that challenge.” The worst booze offenders are beer, sweetened drinks and fancy cocktails because they have a lot of sugar in them. Liquor such as vodka and bourbon are good choices because they don’t have gluten in them, McEvoy says.

11. Not drinking water

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To boost your immune system and keep your overall health in check, drink lots of water. If possible, add Vitamin C and D supplements to your diet. People forget to drink water because they don’t exercises as much and don’t burn a lot of energy. Also, the air is dryer when it’s cold outside and people don’t notice their moisture loss. The moral here: Always have a bottle of water with you.  

12. Skipping stretching

Stretching won’t make you lose or gain weight but it helps avoid muscle soreness which will allow you to stick to your workout routine. Many people, even more experienced ones, don’t stretch enough and get injured. Then you’re forced to rest at home, which only increases the chance of you remembering those sweets in the kitchen cabinets and eating them all. If you are hurt, you’re likely to not exercise, which can lead to weight gain.

13. Having too many energy drinks

“Those are horrible, horrible,” McEvoy says. “I know because I used to drink three a day.” Some energy drinks have as many as 20 teaspoons of sugar in them. Drink coffee is you must stay awake.

14. Skipping breakfast to eat more later

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Nutritionists are unanimous: Starving yourself so you can eat more later is absolutely the worst idea ever. Don’t skip meals and eat foods that have a lot of protein during the day. They will keep you full so you don’t overeat before the big meal, according to McEvoy. Stay away from carbs because the body burns them quickly which results in you being hungry more often.