It’s estimated the average American gains between 5 pounds and 9 pounds during the holiday season. This begins at Halloween and continues until the New Year.
It’s not an easy time to keep pounds off. Why? People eat more and exercise less, which results in weight gain. It’s as simple as that.
It all starts with Halloween. You stockpile bags of candy for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters might come to your door. The day after, there’s leftover candy and the kids have a sugar source that will surely fuel unhealthy eating habits into the holidays.
Then, people just put off losing weight until they start marking New Year’s resolutions. You need to remember that Halloween is just one day.
So why is it so hard to stay committed to your healthy eating and exercise plan? The holidays are known for socializing — parties and events centered on food. Many of these food choices are high in calories.
Another reason is a trap we all fall into, and that’s busy schedules. Not only are we busy all the time, but during the holidays you add in kids’ events, decorating, Christmas cards, shopping, traveling and the list goes on. The stress of the holiday season can leave you exhausted.
So what’s the best way to survive the holiday season and avoid putting on those extra pounds?
Make a plan.
Here are a few tips to help:
- Take out a calendar early — like now. Mark off time for exercise each day. Schedule a little exercise between things on busy days — 10 minutes is better than nothing. Keep your goals in mind throughout the holiday season. Making time to take care of yourself through exercise, sleep, nutrition and organization will make the season more manageable.
- Eat right. Buy healthy snacks. Plan for social parties and activities that involve food. Try to eat some healthy and filing foods before you go to a party. Attending an event hungry sets you up failure.
- Exercise during the morning of the holiday to help burn off some of those extra treats you’ll eat later in the day. Thanksgiving Day is a perfect example of getting some exercise early in the day before your feast.
- Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll start after the new year.” This is really saying you’ll find an excuse no matter what time of the year. There will always be birthdays and special events — think about Super Bowl parties and Valentine’s Day.
- Keep in mind that celebrations are really about family and friends, not food.
- Lifestyle changes in nutrition and exercise, even during the busy holiday season, provide the best long-lasting results. It’s about making healthy, productive changes that work for you long term. It’s about your health forever.