If you eat one extra slice of pie every day in the week leading up to Christmas or Thanksgiving -- without burning off those extra calories via exercise -- you could be two pounds heavier by the time that New Year's Eve comes around! Although this scenario may seem unlikely, it is a good explanation for the way that holiday weight gain works: it is the small indulgences that are the culprit, not the big ones. By keeping your weight loss habits on track during the festive season, you can help prevent excessive weight gain during the holiday season.
One-off indulgences do not cause you to gain weight. The ice cream you eat this Saturday will make absolutely no difference a year from now, especially if you keep up with your fitness commitments by burning your excess calories. No, weight gain is caused by gradual and steady increases in caloric intake. A cookie here, a candy cane there, and a glass of cocoa to top it all off. If you spend the rest of the year trying -- and succeeding -- to follow a healthy diet plan, there is no reason that you cannot do the same thing over Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year. Here are five habits you can avoid or eliminate to avoid gaining weight over the festive season.
Don't Go Hungry
This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but a common mistake that dieters make during the silly season is over-indulging on high-calorie foods like candy, cookies, egg nog, chips, and salted nuts. You should avoid over-indulging at parties or catered events by eating before you go. That way you can either avoid eating altogether, or avoid picking away at food with empty calories. Make sure that you have a filling, high-protein snack before you go to a holiday party or cocktail event -- such as an apple and cheese, peanut butter and celery, or even a healthy smoothie.
Don't Eat Junk
It is hard to avoid candy and junk food at Christmas: the plate of cheap crackers at the work Christmas party, the bowls of candy canes in the lobby of the business you frequent, even the dinners out with friends. If you are going to indulge yourself once a year, pick the right time. That means you should avoid the low-quality, unsatisfying snacks and save the calories for what really matters. if you find it hard to avoid temptation, remind yourself that there are better treats around the corner. Every cheap piece of candy you do not eat means another piece of chocolate, gourmet cheese, or cake.
Don't Avoid Exercise
You should make your workouts an absolute priority over the festive season -- just as they are during the rest of the year. If you find it hard to keep up with your regular gym commitments, try working out at home or going for walks. The most important thing is that you get your pulse elevated regularly -- boosting your metabolism -- and above all that you compensate for the extra food that you will be eating. You may not lose weight over Christmas, but you will avoid gaining it.
Don't Buy Too Much Food
If your cupboards and refrigerator are full of junk food, you are sure to overindulge. To avoid "grazing" on food that you probably will not enjoy anyway, don't buy your Christmas treats too far in advance. If doing that is difficult, make sure that you keep junk food out of view, so that you are not tempted. It is a good idea to avoid bulk purchases of candy and chocolate: spend the same amount of money on a smaller amount of candy, instead.
Don't Drink Too Much
Just because it is the happiest time of year doesn't mean you should forget the limits that you have previously set with regard to alcohol. Don't forget to take a couple of days off a week. In addition, you should remember to drink plenty of water when you are drinking alcohol, and avoid drinks that are made with high-calorie ingredients, such as soda or cream. You may have to forgo the wine if you want to eat a slice of cake or a pastry.