I consider October 31, the unofficial start of the holiday season. It begins with Halloween which brings a seemingly unlimited supply of candy. Who needs that many candy corns anyway?! Next is Thanksgiving. A one-day feast that turns into 4 days of binge watching football and eating leftovers. That’s followed by a parade of cocktail parties, holiday luncheons, dinner get-togethers and numerous calorie-filled occasions with friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to the holidays and time together with loved ones, but how do you survive the holidays without packing on the pounds?
1. Burn more calories.
Don’t let the holidays derail your regular workout routine. If a holiday party coincides with your normal workout time, plan ahead to exercise at a different time. Make your get-togethers revolve around an activity rather than food. Go to a park and toss a Frisbee with the family, get a lively cornhole game going with friends, flex your mental muscles in an escape room. Our family favorite and a regular Black Friday event is bowling! Help off set eating extra calories by burning a few more too! Check out these “workout equivalents” from the American College of Exercise Physical Activity Calculator:
2.Watch your calorie intake.
Okay, I know that seems obvious, but there are several different strategies you can try for limiting what goes into your body in the first place. Our nutritionists at the Health Care Center have 6 awesome tips in their previous blog Holiday Eating Survival Guide. One of my personal favorites is to bring a healthy dish to share when headed to a holiday pot luck. Yep, I’m that person who brings the fruit bowl or a platter of veggies and homemade hummus. I always have fellow party goers thank me for bringing something healthy! Got extra candy laying around? Donate it! If you're here at the SAS headquarters in Cary, the Health Care Center will once again gather your leftover Halloween Candy for Treats for Troops.
3.Get plenty of sleep and manage your stress.
We all know the holidays can be stressful and it is also a season where sleep deprivation is common. There are the late night parties, shopping and wrapping presents, house guests, family gatherings and for many of us the end of the year with big 4th quarter goals and deadlines. Both lack of sleep and stress can lead to weight gain. Check out these 7 Nutrition Strategies for a Good Nights Sleep and from SAS Work Life encouraging you to acknowledge When Holidays are Hard .
4.Enlist an accountability partner.
Staying on track with your regular exercise routine, saying no to that red velvet cheesecake, or leaving the party after just one drink to turn in early is easier if you have someone to hold you accountable. Find a partner who has similar goals over the holidays to keep you motivated. This can even be done with a virtual partner. Set a daily or weekly check-in with one another. Share what events or situations you anticipate will challenge you to stay on track. During your check in time, revisit those events. Did you stay on track with the choices you wanted to? You could also share a food and/or activity journal with one another. Many people indicate that writing down and knowing you will have to share this information with a partner will help them to make the right choices.
With a little forethought and planning, I know you can control holiday weight gain!