The holidays are upon us. With Halloween candy behind us and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve before us, the recipe for weight gain is set.
For many people, a gain of 5 to 10 pounds is common during the holidays. However, getting the weight off can be a challenge.
Here are 10 steps to prevent weight gain this year.
1. Don’t deprive yourself. Just have three luscious bites instead of three pieces of pie. If you allow yourself to have a few bites instead of depriving yourself, you will feel less like eating the whole pie later.
2. Increase your exercise time by 10 to 20 minutes either all at once or throughout your day. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you can exercise in 10-minute segments, and it’s just as effective as exercising a full 30 minutes.
3. Find slimming, healthy recipes to take to potluck holiday dinners. These dinners can be a dangerous place if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight. With a little planning and creativity, you can make an addition to the buffet that tastes good and is healthy. Grapes, raw vegetables and low-calorie dips will make great contributions.
4. Have a healthy snack before a holiday dinner so you don’t eat so much. The right kind of snack, such as a handful of walnuts or almonds, can also regulate blood sugar and keep hunger pangs at bay.
5. Eat regular meals. During the holidays, it is often tempting to skip meals. Starving yourself all day and then eating all evening is not an effective plan for weight maintenance.
6. Sleep seven to eight hours a night. Studies have proven a link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. People who don’t get enough sleep often have a challenge curbing feelings of hunger.
7. Plan what and how much you will eat at parties. Choose to take a small piece of cake, but skip the chips. If you have a general plan, you will be able to better enjoy the festivities.
8. Drink water. It has zero calories and can prevent mindless eating. If we drink water before meals, we will also feel less hungry and be able to enjoy the meal before us.
9. If you blow your plan, get back on track as soon as possible. Each day is a gift. If you veered off track at the family gathering Saturday, there’s no reason not to get back to your goals Sunday.
10. Remember: Everything in moderation. Moderation is the key to not feeling deprived and keeping yourself in balance. Whether it pertains to your exercise program, your healthy eating plan or any other activities, making small, but consistent, adjustments will help you stay on track, feel better and perform at your best.
Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.