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Health Challenge: Don’t Gain, Just Maintain!

For many of us, the holidays are a special time to celebrate and socialize with family and friends. Many holiday gatherings revolve around food and drinks, which can make it difficult to maintain your healthy lifestyle and eating patterns. Additionally, the hectic nature of the season can create time pressures that make finding time to stay active or exercise nearly impossible.

So, instead of throwing in the towel on your healthy lifestyle during this time of year, resolve to make an effort to maintain your current weight over the holiday season. Unlike what is popularized in the media, holiday weight gain contributes to just an overage of 1.4 pounds of added weight per year. While this may not sound significant, studies have shown that often this added weight is not subsequently lost and much of this weight is gained during the six-week holidays season. One or two pounds each year can really add up over time and create a more long term weight management issue.

While you can’t hide from the holidays, you can take simple steps to help maintain your current weight, such as:

  • Have a healthy snack before going to holiday parties and gatherings.
  • Socialize more, nibble less – talking to others keeps you occupied and prevents mindless eating.
  • Practice portion control – use a salad plate, not a dinner plate and stop eating when you are full.
  • Pour the gravy and sauces lightly. You may not be able to control what is being served, but you can make your meal healthier by foregoing the sauces or using them sparingly.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Park far away from the store entrance, take the stairs, or do jumping jacks during commercials while you are watching TV.
  • Keep the focus on fun, not food. Make tree trimming, caroling, a walk, or friendly game of touch football part of your gatherings or meals.
  • Get plenty of sleep to feel rested and energized to tackle the season.
  • Manage your stress with healthy alternatives to eating and/or drinking such as exercise or scheduling in 30 minutes of downtime on your calendar – and set a reminder on your phone!

In order to help you track your progress, download the Holiday Weight Maintenance Calendar to help you stay on track. When the New Year rolls around, you will be happy that you took small steps that made a big difference.