The average American gains 5 pounds during the holiday season. While this may not seem like a lot, the problem is that most people end up keeping this weight on, and never losing it! This doesn’t have to happen to you! As a Registered Dietitian and the Healthy Grocery Girl I share with you my favorite healthy habits will help you avoid the holiday bulge while still enjoying the flavors of the season, and help you with healthy habits to take into the New Year to achieve and maintain a healthy weight all year long!
1. Manage appetite by eating every 3-4 hours
Extreme hunger from skipping meals can lead to extreme eating and binging. Keep healthy snacks with you in your purse, gym bag and car. For example if you are running errands and get hungry, instead of going through the drive through, go to your healthy snack stash. Good options are raw nuts and fresh fruit like apples and bananas. Of course, it is important to listen to your body and be intuitive with your eating. If you’re hungry (or feeling other symptoms of hunger such as a drop in energy, being on edge or difficulty making decisions), than eat or you may need some water! If you are not hungry, you do not need to force yourself to eat. Listen to your body, it is very smart!
2. Stay hydrated
We can often mistake hunger for thirst. Being properly hydrated helps improve digestion so we are less bloated, increases our energy levels, and mental clarity. The more energy you have the more likely you are to keep up with tip number 3, exercise!
Begin or increase exercise to not only to burn off the extra calories you may consume this time of year, but also to relieve stress. Research studies show that exercising can help improve body awareness, appreciation for your body, improve our mood, and help us eat better throughout the day. Consult with your primary health care provider before beginning any new exercise, and it is always a good idea to meet with a certified personal trainer who can help you with proper form, so as to not injure yourself.
4. Choose Real Ingredients
Choose healthier alternatives such as dark chocolate instead of white chocolate (which isn’t even chocolate at all!) These simple swaps will help you stay healthy which means you’ll feel better and are more likely to keep positive and on track with healthy eating and exercise.
5. Rest and Recover
When we are sleep deprived our hunger hormone Ghrelin is naturally elevated throughout the day, which means we will want to eat more, and specifically, eat more quick energy foods such as sugar, caffeine and carbohydrates! Being well rested helps us manage our appetite.
Strive to make these tips your daily habits! This way even if you do indulge a little this holiday, you will have healthy lifestyle habits in place that will keep you from gaining weight.
Watch my TV segment on ABCs KATU AM Northwest: “Indulge Without the Bulge”