If you’re actively losing weight, or trying to maintain recent weight loss, you might be already dreading the holidays. All of the family time, reconnecting with old friends, and traditions often go hand-in-hand with unhealthy foods, alcohol, and sugary treats.
You deserve to enjoy the holidays to their fullest while also remaining kind to your body. It is possible to have a healthy Christmas, enjoying all of your favorite holiday pastimes, while preventing weight gain. Here are our top tips that will help you not put on weight this holiday season.
How to Keep Weight Off During the Holidays
The last thing that you want to do, after losing weight, is gaining it back. There are more threats to gaining weight back during the holidays than the food; the holiday season also tends to result in your routine being shifted. This can mean that the healthy habits that you’ve worked hard to cultivate could be pushed to the wayside for family reunions and hot chocolate with your best friends.
Some of the best ways to keep weight off during the holidays, and keep your routine in check, include:
- Keep up with your exercise routine. This time of year, you might not have the time to go to the gym, or you might be spending the holidays away from your favourite fitness studio. Make your workouts a priority by working out at home – there are many free videos that you can find on YouTube that give you a great sweat. Even better, get your loved ones involved and take long walks together; this combines getting your movement in with festive activities like enjoying the Christmas lights.
- Eat Mindfully. Avoiding weight gain doesn’t mean avoiding all of your favorite holiday treats. In fact, avoiding foods makes you more likely to binge in the future. It’s better to mindfully decide to eat one cookie than it is to eat ten and feel terrible about it later. Listen to your body’s hunger cues and try to fill your plate with mostly-healthy foods, while allowing for those mindful treats.
- Add Balance to Your Life. Remember to prioritize yourself and your rest during the holidays. This is one of the busiest times of the year, which makes it one of the most stressful, not to mention the added stress of potential weight gain. Make sure that you prioritize rest – make sure that you’re sleeping 8 hours a night and finding time for self-care. This will help you stay focused on your goals and prevent you from binge eating.
- Communicate to Your Loved Ones. Losing weight is not easy; it is even more difficult when you don’t feel supported by the loved ones in your life. Take the time to communicate all of the hard work that you’ve done to lose weight, and how you need support in keeping it off over the holidays. This will help them to understand your state of mind and support you in maintaining healthy habits during the holidays and beyond.
Eating Healthy During the Holidays
One of the biggest things on our minds during the holiday season is the food. Food is emotional; certain holiday foods may inspire incredible holiday memories. However, food can also be a major source of anxiety for those who are in the process of losing weight. How are you supposed to enjoy the holidays with all of the pressure to indulge in delicious foods that are not good for you?
Luckily, eating healthy during the holidays is achievable. Here are some of the top things to remember for filling up your holiday plate while maintaining your weight.
- Balance your meals. Eating healthy, balanced meals are key to reducing your hunger levels and remaining full. While it may seem healthier to just eat some greens, you’ll get hungry which increases your chance of binging. Experts recommend making sure that your meal always includes healthy fats – including avocado, nuts, and olive oil – and protein, such as chicken breast or tofu. Make sure to fit some carbohydrates in there, like brown rice and quinoa, as well as vegetables for meals that will keep you satisfied.
- Watch your portion sizes. Some things at the holiday table – like turkey or brussels sprouts – are not inherently bad for you. However, we tend to overindulge during holiday meals. However, you can enjoy your meal just as much without eating more than satisfies you. Make sure that you’re eating similar portion sizes to how you typically eat; some people find it helpful to use a smaller plate when trying to manage portion sizes.
- Limit alcohol consumption. A sure way to add unnecessary calories to your meal is by drinking a lot of alcohol. While alcohol is synonymous with holiday parties, limit yourself to one or two drinks if you do decide to drink. Red wine or vodka waters are healthier options, but it’s an even better choice to skip the booze and stick to something delicious like kombucha instead.
- Bring a healthy component to the meal. It’s inevitable that there will be fewer healthy foods at the holiday gatherings you attend; however, you can make sure that there is something healthy available. Offer to bring a delicious salad, roasted vegetables like brussels sprouts, or mashed sweet potatoes to ensure that there is something on the table that you feel nourished after eating. If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some ideas for healthy food swaps from Appetite for Nutrition.
Let the Weight Loss and Wellness Center Help
If you feel like you’ve tried everything possible to lose weight, and nothing seems to work, you don’t have to undergo your weight loss journey alone. Dr. Saniea Majid and her team at the Weight Loss and Wellness Center are here to lead you to the healthiest version of yourself, with lifelong support and weight loss plans that work for you. From bariatric surgery to non-surgical solutions, we’ll help determine the right path for you to lose weight, with support for years to come.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.