First of all, don’t despair. You are not going to gain a lot of weight this holiday season. And if you’re a little careful, your waistline won’t change at all. Studies have shown that on average people gain about one pound, according to a recent study.
This doesn’t change to fact that people tend to go off track during the holidays as many parties, family gatherings, and other joyous social events take place, all of which provide endless amounts of sweet temptations.
The most important factor in whether you will change your routine this time of year is the people you’re surrounded with, Jilian McEvoy, NTC, founder of Jill Mac Nutrition, says. They tend to have to most influence on you when you’re at a bar or a restaurant. Everybody is encouraging you to try this and that.
Obviously, eating a lot and exercising less or not at all will lead to weight gain, but there are a few other, lesser-known ways that have the same effect. And worrying about the scale is the last thing you want to have on your mind.
Overindulging, overdrinking, overscheduling, and sweets are the most common causes for packing a few extra pounds this time of year, according to Molly Lee, CHHC, founder and director of Energizing Nutrition, and author of Energizing Nutrition: A New Food Paradigm. People don’t realize that they tend to plan to do a lot more than usual during the holidays because they want to catch up in advance with work. “That’s making them tired which makes them eat more.”
Self-care and balance is the key, Lee says. Here is a list of some sneaky seasonal habits that is a good idea to avoid so you are not one of the millions of people who join a gym on January 1.
1. Sweets are just everywhere
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
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
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.