On average, can you guess how much we tend to gain this time of year? MedPage Today has the details, and while I can layout all the calculated percentages, the gist is, people gain. Above all, the time it takes to put weight on, is nothing compared to the time it takes to shake it off.
So this season, aim to maintain. Yes, don’t try to lose weight, just maintain your weight. By New Years, you will be 1-5 pounds ahead of the average. A few tips on how to maintain:
- Solidify your ongoing good habits. While eating predominately healthy, real food, we need to have a casual plan for meals throughout the week. Don’t skip meals, and stick to a meal routine. Meals should include fat (yes, we need more fat than most people think), protein and moderate carbohydrates. The golden rule I provide to clients is start the day off with protein (20-30 grams) to prevent cravings and snacking later in the day and then follow-up lunch and dinner with a palm-sized portion of protein, 1/4 of the plate coming from fruit or ancient grains, and the other half of the plate being vegetables, starchy (potatoes, parsnips, plantains) and non-starchy kinds. Have more of the starchy vegetables if you are active.
- Eat breakfast. Even if you wake-up some mornings and decide you are not hungry, go about eating around the brunch hour and assess how much more you eat in the evening. I am not saying everyone carries their highest calorie intake into the few hours before bed, but more often my non-breakfast eaters do, and this time of day is the hardest to make the cleanest and healthiest choices.
- Cap your time on Snapchat and Instagram and start organizing your kitchen, recipes and grocery list. The more organized and prepared we are with easy to grab snacks and batch-cooked meals, healthy eating is the obvious choice. Don’t overhaul your diet, just take one step closer to the farm. Instead of chips and granola bars, have nutsand fruit or vegetable. Instead of a protein bars, have hard boiled eggs or grassfed jerky.
- Grocery shop every week. Even if there are more social gatherings this month, still purchase plenty of produce. When I am busy I am the queen of buying frozen items like berries, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, mango, etc. This season is a great time to enjoy warm food, and warm berries in the evening is a great treat, and roasted vegetables (from frozen) can go a long way for a healthy dinner and leftovers.
- If you are not getting 60 ounces of water a day by the afternoon, up your game. Being hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And it’s cheap!
- Buddy up. Find a partner who has a similar health goal, and communicate daily with food ideas and challenges, using each other for support.
If you are the host, or attending parties:
- If you are overseeing most of the food, make all you can ahead of time and freeze Approaching the event with fewer to-do’s will make the experience more fun and manageable.
- When reaching for a treat at a party, opt for something you are honestly and truly going to enjoy and have time to chew and taste. Additionally, contribute to the party and bring a healthy app and dessert.
- Indulge in the memories at holiday parties verse food. Not often do we think back on a memory and say, “I was so glad I ate all that food.” Keep portions in check, but also see how much you can laugh.
- If you have a day of baking on the calendar, be sure to taste only what you need to. A teaspoon should be more than enough. If you need a distraction for your mouth while the house begins to smell like chocolate, write down your goal, pour yourself some tea, and pop in a piece of gum.
Secondly, the holidays are so much fun. Keep your perspective positive during this busy time of year and take care of yourself inside and out. Above we touched on food, yet, prioritize mental health too.
- Pencil in a few extra sessions of yoga, briefly write up a gratitude list each morning, download a meditation app (Calm, HeadSpace, 10% Happier, etc) and or enjoy a good book.
- Be sure to clock in enough sleep. Strive for at least 8 hours. When we are sleep deprived we tend to eat more food, make poorer food choices and move less overall.
Happy holidays, and cheers to the New Year in good health!