Here’s the good news: there’s no real reason for you to stress out about gaining weight over the holidays. In fact, if you have weight loss and fitness goals, stress is definitely something you’ll want to avoid.
However, if it’s a worry that you can’t seem to shed, one thing that might help to ease your mind is a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine; researchers found that from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, most Americans don’t gain a significant amount of weight.
On average, most only gain about one pound over the course of the holiday season.
Of course, that doesn’t negate the fact that the holidays are still a busy time of year filled with tempting treats; both factors that can make it increasingly difficult to stick with our regular healthy habits.
It’s no secret that habitually overeating and indulging in too many treats will potentially lead to weight gain, but there are a few other less obvious and unfavorable holiday habits that you may acquire over the course of the season.
But during a time of year that’s about giving thanks, spreading joy and enjoying time with loved ones, no one wants to deal with the extra worry of weight gain.
Ultimately, you want to relax and enjoy it all while still keeping your health and fitness goals on track.
So, to help identify some sneaky seasonal habits that you should avoid, we called on the help of a few experts.
Terra Wellington is a TV Lifestyle and Wellness contributor and the author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home; Natalie Galyon is a Wellness Fitness Coach and author of The Superpower Practice; Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. is a psychotherapist, eating coach, international author of six books on eating and weight, and an expert on the psychology of eating; and Sarah Moran, RDN is the owner of Sarah Moran Nutrition.
Each expert weighed in to share their advice about maintaining healthy habits during the holidays. Here’s what they had to say.
Surrounding yourself with sweets.
“Avoid having sweets around that you pick up and eat all throughout the day,” says Wellington. She says that constantly keeping candy and other treats stocked up in your house or at your desk makes it difficult to keep track of how much you’re really eating. “Put it all away and if you feel like a sweet at the end of a healthy meal, that’s when to do it. Keep it in check,” she said.
Avoiding the scale.
Don’t stop tracking your progress or keeping tabs of your body composition just because the holidays are here. Wellington says that if you have a habit of hiding the scale away until after New Year’s you may need to reevaluate your goals and re-commit yourself to a year-round health and fitness routine. There’s no need to obsess over the exact number of your weight, but Wellington points out that the scale can be a helpful tool to help you gauge whether or not you’ve gone too far off track.