Survive The Holidays Without Weight Gain

Tis the season to eat and be merry! And boy do we EAT! I did a little research, and the average American eats approximately 3,000 to 3,500 calories during Thanksgiving lunch / dinner (the actual meal). This comes to about 4,000 calories for the day in total. To put that in perspective, an excess of 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. Many people gain a significant amount of weight during the holiday season; some people can gain as much as 5-7 pounds. The weight-gain cycle can easily continue throughout the winter months, and by spring you can have up to 5-10 lbs to lose. Hold that pace for a decade and you will have gained 50-60 lbs.

But wait! There is good news: While it can take a few to several years to gain 50-60 lbs, it can only take 6-12 months to lose it. The better news: you don’t HAVE to gain weight over the holidays! Here are some tips on how to avoid adding holiday weight:

1) Walk and Exercise More. Take a walk with the family after dinner or go outside and toss the football around. Inside activities could include playing video games that are exercise related such as the Wii Fit, or just helping clean up! Just twenty minutes of brisk walking can burn between 100-150 calories. That equals a cookie or soda in calories! You can even start a new holiday tradition of going hiking, ice skating, swimming in an indoor pool, working out in a gym, or taking an exercise class at an adult education facility

2) Eat Slowly. Eat very slowly and enjoy the flavors. Try to chew your food several times per mouthful. It’s recommended to chew 30-40 times! It will allow the “hungry- full” response from your brain to recognize that you are satisfied. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to let you know you are full.

3.) Drink Water. Water is going to naturally help you avoid eating as much if you drink a large glass 20-30 minutes prior to having a large dinner. Plus, water will keep you hydrated and help you burn fat more efficiently. Some people confuse hunger with dehydration. If you just drink a glass of water, that will often take care of the food yearning. This is not skipping a meal – just a way to work through temptation. You can figure the approximate amount of water you need a day by dividing you weight in pounds by 2. This will be the number of ounces you need a day.

4). Don’t let stress get to you! Don’t let stress trigger an overeating episode. Even though it’s easy to reach for “comfort food” when you’re feeling stressed out or when you’re under pressure, skip the urge altogether and try a completely different activity to feel better. Talk to a friend, take a walk around the block, or hit the gym to give your mood a boost and keep your mind off eating.

5) Brush Your Teeth after Meals. I read this somewhere and tried it. It works! Right after eating a meal, especially dinner, go straight to the bathroom to brush, floss, and mouthwash so that your mouth is feeling nice and clean – this makes it less appealing to eat more (especially before bedtime). Ever try to eat or drink something after brushing your teeth? Not tasty!

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