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.
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!
You’re officially a few weeks into your weight loss journey. You’re doing well preparing your meals during the week, getting your workouts in, and staying within your calorie allowance. But then the weekend comes around and that’s when the challenge arises. You know what to do all week to stay on track, but then you’re feeling stuck out with friends faced with lots of appetizers, drinks, and desserts and you enter into the all-or-nothing mentality.
At first, you tell yourself you’ll just indulge in one small thing since you did good all week, but one small thing turns into another and then before you know it you have overeaten and feel sick. You begin to think about how you blew your diet and failed. It feels as though all the hard work you put into this week was for nothing and you have to start over.
What if you could avoid this scenario altogether? What if we were able to eat in a sustainable way, adding in the foods you love to indulge on-in moderation. What if every Monday didn’t feel like it was time to start over?
Here are three tips to avoid getting in the cycle of the Monday morning resets!
Start with Something Sustainable
Before you begin any weight loss plan or program make sure you take the time to check that it is individualized to you and is going to work for your lifestyle and needs. Know what the plain entails and whether or not it is welcoming a sustainable approach to your eating habits, encompassing your favorite foods instead of restricting them. Ask yourself if you can see yourself sticking to it forever and if it’s do-able in every scenario of your life and schedule. If the answer to that is “no,” you may want to rethink what you are about to begin to avoid having to start over every Monday.
Plan your Weekends for Success
Regardless of what you’re following during the week, a key to your success is viewing the weekends as no different than the weekdays. Although there are many social gatherings and events on the weekends, you can always go into these with a plan. Having an idea of what food will be at the event or what type of restaurant you’re going to will allow you to pick out a few options prior to your arrival. Social gatherings don’t have to throw you off track with your eating. These events are a time to enjoy family and friends and indulge in your favorite foods, considering everything in moderation!
Set Small, Realistic Goals
It’s possible that you’re setting yourself up to start over on Mondays by setting goals that are too big to follow through with each week. When you begin your journey, you want to tackle the one thing that you feel will be the easiest change for you to make. If you set very high expectations for yourself and try to change multiple things at once, anxiety of overwhelm may set in! You want to begin by setting a small goal for yourself that you can continue to do to turn into a habit. This way, you won’t feel like you can’t keep up on your journey and you will be more focused on reaching the specific goals you set.
Chances are that some of your coworkers and friends are starting to get back into their routines at the gym, and maybe you’re wondering if you should join them! Quarantine most likely has been a long road with more calorie intake and less movement, and maybe those skinny jeans you love to wear on Friday nights…just don’t quite fit the same. But don’t worry! Gyms are beginning to reopen across the nation with new health and safety precautions so you can hit the gym and rest easy knowing that you’re staying safe. Here are three tips how to make progress at the gym and still keep you and your family safe:
PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING
If you’re an experienced gym-goer, you most likely have experienced uncomfortable moments where that one guy who hasn’t bought deodorant in years is just too close. In most gyms, space is limited at peak hours after work and you may find yourself squeezing into a spot on the mats to complete your stretching. Now times have changed and social distancing is a new norm that all gyms have to adapt to if they want to remain open. Social distancing includes the spacing out of cardio equipment and machines and also asking members to remain at a six feet distance apart from one another throughout their workouts. Some gyms also have a maximum capacity in place, and will only let a certain number of people into the gym at a time. More careful entities will only allow for you to come into the gym with a made-ahead appointment where only a select number of people are able to use equipment throughout your specific time slot. Make sure to call your gym ahead of time to ask them what their protocol is so you are prepared and can make the most of your time working out and making those gains!
WASH YOUR HANDS
I’m sure we’ve all heard this more times than we can count, but its importance has yet to diminish. Washing your hands is a sure fire way to keep yourself safe when you’re in an environment that could be contaminated with germs. Make sure to wash your hands when you get to the gym to help protect other people but also wash your hands before you leave! Avoid touching your face in between hand washes and use hand sanitizer as much as you can. If you’re using gym equipment that is highly used and likely to not get the same attention from cleaning staff, ie: dumbbells and kettlebells, then take initiative to wipe them down before and after you use them. You could even be really responsible and keep Clorox wipes in your car so that once you leave the gym, you can wipe down your handle and steering wheel to be extra cautious. A particularly important note here is to make sure that whatever you are wiping down is dry before you use it in order to allow for the chemicals to properly reduce the amount of germs crawling at the surface. In essence, you can never be too careful with extra hand washing and wiping everything down before and after you use it. Also, don’t forget to bring your hand sanitizer!
WEAR YOUR MASK
Unless you haven’t left your house this entire quarantine then you’ve most likely been using PPE, or personal protective equipment. Unfortunately, many people may not use their PPE correctly and that is taking away from your safety! Face masks are the most important and the most common form of PPE used from hospital settings to just being out and about. These pieces of cloth are not only extremely important in protecting yourself and others but are also required throughout many states in the U.S.- if you’re caught without one in some states you can get a fine of up to $1000!! These pesky pieces of cloth work to prevent the spread of your germs to other people, and although they’re uncomfortable, it’s a price worth paying for you and your family’s health.
Overall, there are a lot of tips to continue practicing hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing the proper PPE to help keep you and your family safe during these troubling times. As long as you’re diligent about your hygiene and follow your gym’s rules, you will have a much easier time staying safe and making gains at the gym. Of course, if you or a loved one have an underlying health issue that could cause serious problems if you become contracted with COVID, then take these tips very seriously or reconsider other options for staying active.