By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
For most of us, Thanksgiving to the beginning of the New Year is a time of over-indulging, celebrating, and enjoying time with your closest friends and family. This five-week period is full of great tasting desserts, high saturated fat, and carbohydrate-loaded dishes. Many people place little emphasis on their physical activity or exercise regimen during the holidays. The lack of physical activity plus the increase in sugary foods and high carbohydrate dishes can significantly increase your weight.
“It’s the Holidays, I just want to enjoy!”
I have often heard people say, “It’s the Holidays, I just want to enjoy!” or “I’ll start my weight loss program at the beginning of the year!” While I agree that you should enjoy this time of year; you should try to maintain/ increase your physical activity to counter the increase in your caloric intake. Media outlets report that the average American gains 5-10 pounds.
However, research suggests that amount is simply not true and the amount may be close to 1-2 pounds. The problem with gaining 1-2 pounds during the holiday season is that most people do not lose that weight at the beginning of the new year. Therefore, your goal this holiday season should be “Maintain, don’t gain!”
Here are four simple tips that can help you prevent packing on the extra pounds.
Start your weight loss program at the beginning of the New Year for a new you!
Accumulate extra steps – If you use a pedometer on your smart phone or a step counting device, you should focus on 10,000 steps per day—minimum.
Walk one mile after dinner – Walk your pet or enjoy some extra conversation with loved ones, as this can improve your digestion and burn an extra 100 calories.
Do not pile on the food – Be mindful about your serving sizes. You should still be able to see “bare spots” on your dinner plate with a healthy portion of food.
Drink a glass of water with psyllium fiber – drinking a glass with 1-2 servings of psyllium fiber can help you feel full and improve your digestion after you eat.
*Before starting an exercise or nutrition regimen, consult with your healthcare provider and/ or registered dietitian.
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Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil MO, Sebring NG. A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000; 342:861-867