Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving Day feasts, Christmas Eve cookies, and lots of leftovers, the holiday season brings some of the best food of the year. But for those trying to lose or even maintain their weight, it can be anxiety-inducing.
If that’s you, you might be worried about losing the progress you’ve worked so hard to achieve. That doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, it’s completely possible to enjoy all your favorite holiday foods without wrecking your progress. That said, here are some tips on how to avoid gaining weight this holiday season:
- Eat your holiday favorites in moderation. If apple pie is your absolute favorite dessert, have a slice. The holidays are a special and joyous time of year and you deserve to have what you love. The important part is to do so in moderation. Instead of grabbing a sampler platter of every dessert available (we’ve all done it), stick to what you know you love.
- Don’t save your calories. It may be tempting to skip breakfast and lunch before a big holiday dinner. Rather than doing that, have smaller but still filling meals so that you don’t show up ravenous. By coming to a holiday gathering ravenous, you’re setting yourself up to overeat or feel out of control.
- Think about drinks. Everyone enjoys a festive holiday cocktail, but be cautious about how many calories you’re drinking. That fancy cup of cheer is likely loaded with sugar and calories. Just like with dessert, practice moderation. Alternating drinks with water or looking into skinny versions of cocktails is one way to limit your caloric intake when it comes to drinks.
- Bring a healthy side dish to share. Thanksgiving turkey, potatoes, and stuffing are absolute classics, but there’s no reason you can’t add a healthy side to the mix. A dish like roasted vegetables, a tasty salad, or another low-calorie appetizer can help you fill up your plate with a delicious and filling option so you don’t feel deprived. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of 29 healthy Thanksgiving sides for some ideas.
- Don’t let one bad day snowball into a bad season. Nobody’s perfect. You may have grabbed one plate too many of leftovers, sneaked a second (or third) slice of pecan pie, or drank a lot of calories with holiday cocktails. If you overindulged more than you wanted to or saw the scale go up after a bad week, don’t feel discouraged. Forgive yourself for overindulging and get right back into those healthy habits!
2020 has been a trying year for everyone, and you shouldn’t have to end it feeling overly anxious about your weight or trying to avoid all the holiday foods you love. By keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy that pie, stuffing, cookies, and other holiday treats without having to start over again in 2021.
Everyone knows someone who swears by a fad diet. While they may work for some people, the reality is that diets like Keto, Paleo, or Intermittent fasting simply do not work for a majority of us–and that’s okay! It’s hard to follow a diet that restricts what and when you eat, and even harder to keep up with those restrictions for a long period of time. If you’ve tried fad dieting again and again and haven’t seen results, here’s some good news: you don’t need to do a fad diet to lose weight.
So what should you be doing instead? Let’s talk about 4 sustainable steps you can take to help you reach your goals:
Eat more often. Yes, you read that right! Fasting, cutting out entire food groups, and other drastic measures are not necessary for weight loss. Eating more often may sound like the opposite of what you should do, but that isn’t the case.
Eating more often doesn’t mean you should be piling on more calories. Instead, aim to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day. By doing so, you can prevent hunger that causes you to overeat, stabilize your blood sugar, and keep your metabolism running smoothly, all of which can promote weight loss.
Find a form of exercise that you enjoy doing. Do you hate running? Then don’t run! From yoga to strength training, going on a walk, and everything in between, there are a limitless number of options when it comes to getting active. You’re more likely to fit in a workout if it’s something you look forward to (or at least don’t mind doing) than if you’re forcing yourself to do something you hate.
Eat more vegetables. You may remember reading this before, but it’s important enough to mention again. Only 10% of Americans meet their produce needs every day, which means they’re missing out: vegetables are low-calorie, packed with disease-fighting nutrients, and fill you up quickly. Just like with exercising, try to pick veggies you enjoy. If raw vegetables aren’t for you, considering having them sauteed, roasted, or mixed into another dish you already enjoy.
Did you add vegetables to your diet, but still feel hungry throughout the day? Here are 3 other reasons you could be feeling hungry all the time, and tips on how to change them.
Eat mindfully. You may have gotten into the habit of eating in your car, in front of the TV, or while working. While you might not be able to avoid it all the time, it’s not your healthiest option. A growing body of research has found that eating mindfully–slowly and thoughtfully–may help with weight loss. By maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you consume, you can feel fuller faster, improve your digestion, and be more mindful about making healthy food choices that promote weight loss. Not sure where to start? Here’s a good guide on how to practice mindful eating.
By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you could find yourself reaching your weight loss goals and feeling healthier, happier, and more energized–without depriving yourself of the food you love.
Have you spent months, maybe even years working toward your weight loss goals? You have tried many different diets, meal plans, and programs but no matter what you do you can’t seem to stick to your plan. In fact, you are finding yourself back in the same place you started or maybe even worse off. The truth is, there are many plans out there all with different rules, guidelines and philosophies but in order to reach your weight loss goals it boils down to these three things.
If you look closely at any diet program or meal plan they actually have these three things in common and may be giving you more similar advice than you realize. These three things are common among all healthful weight loss and dietary approaches. So if you’re looking to reach your weight loss goals it is encouraged you focus on them.
Increase the Amount of Vegetables You Consume
You may be surprised to hear that 9 in 10 Americans fail to meet their produce needs which is why this is the first thing you must focus on in your weight loss journey. Regardless what diet plan or philosophy you want to stick with, adding vegetables to your day will be part of the plan. Vegetables are a high volume food, meaning they will fill you up for very few calories and they give you all the nutrients your body needs to fight diseases. There are no specific vegetables you have to eat to reach your produce needs, you just want to focus on having some variety and choosing the ones you enjoy. There are also many ways to enjoy vegetables and add them to your diet in a simple and quick way. If you don’t enjoy raw vegetables, try them roasted, sauteed or mixed into another dish you’re preparing!
Decrease the Amount of Sugar you Consume
According to research, we are hardwired to have a preference for sweets from a very early age. Sugar makes food taste good and so food companies add it to many more items than you may imagine-bread, soups, salad dressings, cereals, yogurts and so much more! This adds up and can leave us consuming a lot more sugar in our diets than we need. The average American consumes more than 19 teaspoons of sugar per day, exceeding the American Heart Association’s 6 teaspoon limit for women and 9 teaspoon limit for men. This is why any time you follow a plan or program for weight loss a common theme is decreasing the added sugar you have in your day. One thing to be mindful of as well is the amount of names for sugar you may see on food labels. Agave, cane juice, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate and date sugar are all examples of names for sugar that when consumed, will make reaching your weight loss goals more difficult.
Increase Whole Foods and Decrease Processed Food Consumption
Eating overly processed foods have been linked to weight gain, perhaps because many unhealthy packaged foods such as ice cream, potato chips, and frozen pizza lack the fiber found in many whole foods and contain lots of added sugars and fat. Fiber helps keep us full and helps keep our digestive systems working properly. Research suggests that adding fiber to your diet by choosing whole foods can help you lose weight more effectively than more complicated diets and programs. During an experiment, it was found people ate about 500 calories more per day when eating heavily processed foods and gained more weight than those who focused on eating whole foods. Whole foods include vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, seafood, chicken and so on. Whichever diet appeals most to your appetite and lifestyle, focusing on increasing the amount of whole foods you eat is a crucial part of your success.
Have you ever wondered why you’re feeling hungry all day? Perhaps you’re thinking that this is a normal feeling when you are trying to lose weight. The truth is however, in order to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we consume, but that doesn’t mean to simply eat less and less or that we need to be hungry all the time. In fact, if you are hungry all the time, then you are less likely to reach your goals as you may be slowing down your metabolism and will end up feeling irritable, agitated and tired. Let’s break down this myth and talk about 3 reasons why you’re hungry all the time, and how you can change it.
You Are Not Eating Enough Protein
Many people are not consuming enough protein throughout the day even when they try to add enough sources to their meals. You want to focus on getting lean protein sources into your day and aim for a protein source with each meal and snack. Common sources of protein include lean meats like chicken and ground turkey, tofu, whole eggs, a combination of rice and beans, and fish. Protein plays an important role in our bodies by helping to build and repair muscle and helps keep you full throughout the day. You should be consuming anywhere from 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to ensure you are giving your body the adequate protein it needs. Protein will help keep you full and satiated after your meals. *Tip! The digestion of protein in your body will burn more calories than the digestion of fats and carbohydrates, helping you lose more weight.
You’re Not Sleeping Enough
We all know that we need 6-8 hours of sleep every night, but did you know it could be affecting your hunger as well? If you’re not sleeping enough, the hormones that help to control your appetite become imbalanced, where ghrelin is overproduced further increasing your appetite while leptin, the hormone that decreases hunger, is underproduced. With this imbalance, you may find yourself hungry even a few hours after you have eaten a meal! Instead, try to hit the sheets earlier to get those 6-8 hours every night. If you’re struggling with falling asleep, try setting new routines for yourself. For example, you could try putting away all electronic devices at least an hour before bed, try journaling, or do something that relaxes you- like taking a bath. This increase in sleep will help you with your appetite ultimately pushing you forward in your weight loss journey.
You’re Drinking Your Calories
If you find yourself with few calories leftover in your day but you’re still starving, then check back on how many calories you may be consuming through your beverages. High calorie drinks are a sneaky way to add to your calorie count and sugar levels throughout the day. Worse yet, they usually don’t have key nutrients in them and are packed with sugar or chemicals that don’t keep you full. You may find yourself craving most soda beverages for the caffeine and sugar content that your body becomes addicted to. Before you know it, several cans of your favorite cola could add up to 420 calories and a whopping 117 grams of sugar! Instead of grabbing the sugary drinks, try aiming to increase your water intake throughout the day or opt for lower calorie beverages like tea or seltzer water. Be sure to reach for nutrient dense foods as well to replace any beverages you might be having as a meal or snack. Sooner than later, you’ll start to notice the difference in your hunger levels and increased energy.
With these 3 tips, you’ll decrease your hunger and be on your way to reaching all your goals! Being hungry isn’t only uncomfortable, it’s agitating and a constant reminder that you are not giving your body the energy and fuel that it needs. Once you start incorporating these tips into your everyday routines, you’ll find yourself feeling more energized and all around better which is what we all want!
You glance over at the clock and realize that it’s already 5pm and you have to start cooking dinner, help the kids with their homework, and get them ready to go to bed and it dawns on you- you haven’t moved your body today! Sometimes fitting in a full-blown workout just isn’t feasible between zoom meetings, chasing around your kids and anxiously finishing that to-do list your boss gave you to finish by Friday. Instead, try to focus on staying more active throughout the entire day instead of focusing on one time to get a workout in. Here’s three tips on how to be more active throughout your day:
Have a destination lunch!
You and your whole family can go for a walk to a nearby park to have a picnic! You’re adding in extra steps and getting everyone out of the house- maybe the Vitamin D will help you to feel more refreshed and energized for the second part of your day. Give each person a designated role, like carrying their lunch pale, wiping down the picnic table, or passing around hand sanitizer before diving in to your meal. The walk back home will also help you digest your food and feel ready to go for the remainder of the afternoon.
Set a timer to get moving!
Setting a timer on your smartphone every hour or so can help to remind to get up and get moving. Even if you just take a lap around your house, your body will thank you! Sitting in the same position for countless hours per day can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, or fatigue. Instead, try going for a quick walk or just do some stretching by your desk so you can stay focused on your task at hand while moving your body.
Use those legs!
As long as your destination is safe (and preferably it’s daytime), park your car far and walk! You’d be surprised how many steps you can tally up by just parking further than you normally would at each of your destinations. Of course, make sure you’re safe. Always have a buddy with you and park near street lights if it’s getting dark out. Similarly, if you live in an apartment complex always take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stairs are a great way to get your heart rate up and get your blood flowing through your whole body.
Incorporating these three tips to stay more active during your day will help your body feel better, help you feel more energized and focused, and help you to reach your goals as well!