It’s November, and for most of us that means a lot of fun: family gatherings, shopping trips, warm story-telling by the fire, parties and all the joy that comes with them.
But the start of November’s holiday season also means we’re hit with the double whammy: High-calorie temptations and stress — both of which are known causes of weight gain that can take up to five months to burn off.
Luckily, there are ways we can combat the issue while still enjoying all that the holidays have to offer.
Here are 15 Quick-and-Easy Ways to Beat the Holiday Bulge:
1. Eat mindfully.
Think about every bite while you eat it. Enjoy the food. And slow down! These are the main keys to eating mindfully, which can help you consume fewer calories and even shed pounds.
2. Be selective (but not rigid).
There’s going to be a ton of foods that are high-calorie on the menu. The key is to think about what you choose before you choose it. Grab a couple of the things you like, but don’t go overboard.
3. Get a recurring dose of motivation.
We here at Diet-to-Go are all about sharing inspirational words that may just give you that extra dose of motivation to kick your butt into high gear. Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook Community or check our motivational and success story boards on Pinterest for all the butt-kicking you need!
4. Forget spring cleaning…do fall cleaning!
Did you know that cleaning can burn anywhere from 120 to 170 calories per hour? Rake some leaves and sweep the driveway outside, and then move some furniture around and deep clean inside. It’ll even make your holiday gatherings that much better knowing how spotless things are!
5. Turn a break into a boost.
You’ve probably heard the whole exercise-during-commercials thing before. But with the host of holiday specials and epic TV series going on during the season, there’s no better time than now to actually get up and DO it. Make a pact with yourself that every 20 minutes you watch TV, you’ll get up and do 10 jumping jacks or run in place for a few minutes. Those tiny doses of cardio are a great way to burn a few extra calories — and they’ll definitely add up.
6. Forest bathe.
What the heck is forest bathing, you ask? It’s a Japanese term for “bathing” in nature by taking a leisurely stroll through a forested area, pretty trail, even around the neighborhood. Plus, walking is an activity that’s perfect for everything from weight maintenance to stress relief.
7. Beware of “food pushers.”
At every gathering you attend, there’s likely to be that one (or more) person — a mother-in-law, a grandma, a close friend, a co-worker — who tries to pressure you to eat. ‘Try this, it’s my best recipe yet!’ or ‘You have to taste it!’ or ‘Come on, it’s the holidays!’ are among the things they’ll say. They’re typically well-meaning, but when you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, that’s not the kind of encouragement you need. Practice how to say no to food pushers before the party and be prepared with how you will extricate yourself from high-pressure food pushing scenarios.
8. Schedule an exercise routine three times weekly.
You schedule your parties, your work events, your appointments — doesn’t your health deserve the same level of attention? Pencil in three, minimum 20-minute fitness routines into your days. They don’t have to be strenuous! Take a walk, do some light yoga, just do something that works for you.
9. Eat BEFORE you go to a party. Seriously.
This is an important one. The idea that you should save up your calories to “enjoy” the party food is a big mistake that will likely backfire and lead to overeating. If you have a healthy, balanced Diet-to-Go meal before you go out, for example, you’ll be fuller and able to resist unhealthy spreads at parties more easily.
10. Be aware of your alcohol consumption.
It’s okay to have a drink, but try and choose beverages that have fewer calories — like wine instead of beer or a sugary cocktail, for example. If possible, volunteer to be the designated driver so you’re forced to limit yourself.
11. Drink lots and lots of water.
More often than not, our bodies don’t know the difference between being hungry and being thirsty. Water not only fills us up, but it also helps our metabolisms run more efficiently and gives us energy.
12. Don’t focus on (or stand next to) the food.
Ok, yes, easier said than done. But if you can do it, try to steer your attention more toward the people at the party, rather than the buffet. Find some friends and chat. Dance. Play a game. All are great ways to focus on what’s really important.
13. Bake or cook your own dishes for get-togethers.
This puts you in the driver seat. It gives you an opportunity to cook healthier dishes. Plus, we have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to healthy fall fare to give you a good starting point.
14. Chew gum while cooking.
“Tasting” while cooking and baking in the kitchen means lots of extra calories, typically eaten when we’re not even thinking about it. That’s a real problem during the holiday’s, but chewing gum is an easy way to avoid that.
15. Most importantly, keep your eye on the prize — you!
Constantly envision yourself as the person whom you want to be when the New Year comes. Think about your goals and how you’ll get there because at the end of each party, family occasion, work event, whatever it is, it’s you and your health that truly matters.
Parting thought: Here at Diet-to-Go we value a common-sense approach to eating and living healthfully. That means that while these tips are great, they should in no way bar you from enjoying the holiday season: the parties, the family get-togethers, the events. They’re only meant to add to your knowledge base so that, when possible, you can leverage them to stay on-track and get a jump start on the new year.
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.