By now most of us have come to accept the fact that during the holidays, we have to add a few pounds. This is simply because we indulge and make merry; after all, Christmas comes only once a year. But come January, we always seem to have that weight goal as one of the several New Year’s resolutions. What if I told you that there is a way to avoiding holiday weight gain?
Well, Banin Shahine, Nutrition Manager at Fitness First Middle East, agreed to share some amazing tips on avoiding holiday weight gain. Her tips are simple, and from what I deduced, all you have to do is listen to your body, and hear what it’s trying to tell you! If you follow the tips, you might just be on your way to avoiding holiday weight gain and still enjoy what the season has to offer.
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Tips on Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Don’t Eat if you are Not Hungry
There is a big difference between eating small frequent meals every 3 hours and eating when you are not hungry. Here are simple tips to help you know if you are hungry or not:
- Close your eyes and count to ten, then distract your brain. If you still feel hungry then it’s real hunger.
- Drink 2 cups of water and see if you are still hungry afterwards – sometimes your body is lost somewhere between the thirst and hunger sensation.
- When was the last meal you ate? You should not be hungry 1-2 hours after eating
Chow on a Healthy Snack 2-3 Hours Before your Meal
Snacks are very important when it comes to avoiding holiday weight gain as they help boost your metabolism, and to control your portion of the main meal. Make sure you eat healthy snacks filled with nutritional value, such as nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds), fruits (apple, small banana, berries, clementine), yogurt etc.
Start your Meal with a Salad
Make sure you divide your plate into 3 portions. Half of it should be vegetables or salad, ¼ for healthy carbs, and ¼ for low-fat proteins. It’s ok to enjoy your time over the holiday season, just try and stick to the basic breakdown of protein, fruit and vegetables, and carbohydrate percentages. Also, eat in smaller plates to help you control your portions, and remember to share food with family and friends in order to avoid over-eating.
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Exercise has a lot of benefits, including maintaining or attaining heart health, enhancing your mood, and increasing quality of sleep among others. So, make sure you get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. If you have time to increase this over the festive season, then do so. If you have time off work, utilize this by doing some at-home workouts. Some stair runs, squats or lunges are all possible wherever you are in the world, and should not take longer than 15 minutes. Challenge yourself over the holiday period to do something every day!
Many people forget to hydrate themselves, especially during the cold weather. Your need of drinking water are the same as in hot weather; so, make sure to drink at least 1.5 – 2 liters of fluids per day.
Although it’s natural to change your eating habits come the festive season, remember that good health is a result of your overall eating pattern and every next meal is a new opportunity to nourish your body. And who knows, if you are successful in avoiding holiday weight gain, you might not need that weighty New Year resolution after all!