The Holidays and Managing Weight Loss Expectations

Gingerbread ManFor most people, the holidays are something we all look forward to . It’s time off with family and friends and time to celebrate. It’s also a time for office and school parties where temptations for sweets and treats can be almost overwhelming. We’ve compiled a few tips from experts around the web on how they suggest coping with holiday eating.

According to this article from The Huffington Post, the average American gains only 1-2 pounds during the holidays, but people who are overweight or obese tend to gain five times that amount. And holiday meals and treats are so high in calories (think eggnog or a Thanksgiving plate with all the trimmings) that indulging over a few weeks, from Thanksgiving to New Years, may make larger portion size and richer foods feel normal, when in fact, they aren’t.

saladTrack Your Food Intake
We think the advice from this article is perhaps the most important tip and we agree that keeping track of what you eat will give you some food for thought but also let you see how much of a “good thing” you’re taking in.We don’t advocate denying yourself or your kids some holiday cheer, but setting some firm ground rules are beneficial and necessary if you don’t want a weight gain set back.

If you know that you had some holiday sweets or cookies at a party, you should compensate for that at your next meal. Perhaps make your breakfasts and lunches vegetable-based, as opposed to bread and other carbs. Use AllStride’s journaling tool or create your own, even if just for the holidays.Jot down what you’re eating and when. Even though it’s the holidays, you still should have a cut off time for meals and snacks that’s at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.

BuffetDon’t Party On An Empty Stomach
This may sounds a little strange or funny, but this is an excellent piece of advice we found in this article from Today’s Dietician, which as many great tips you should check out. What we took away from this that may be valuable to you is that you can taste a little bit of festive holiday fare, but make sure you never go to a party or send your kids to a holiday party while hungry or on an empty stomach. Fill up on a sensible, vegetable and protein-based light meal or snack before they go to that party. The protein will send a response to the brain that says, “I’m full,” that will last for a while. You will eat less and feel less compulsion to have that extra piece or slice. Encourage small bites or sips or sharing a portion with your kids and drink water, water, water. You need this to feel hydrated and full, but also to help the body cleanse.

SkatingMake Regular Dates for Exercise Time and KEEP Them
We really love this article from FitSugar, because there are so many concise, little tips here that just make sense.Stick to an exercise program that you can devote at least 30 minutes of activity per day during the holidays. You’ve made the time to go to those holiday parties, and it’s only fair to you and your health and body to make equal time to exercise on a consistent basis each and every day with your kids. You can make this fun with ice skating if you have access or tag football or a 30 minute walk with the family.

We don’t advocate calorie counting, per se, but it just makes sense that you know the approximate calories of the foods you are consuming and know how much activity you and your kids will have to do to to balance that calorie intake to maintain the hard work you’ve done so far. Check out this fun interactive calorie counter from The Washington Post that puts it into perspective or this list of common holiday foods and their calories from HealthCastle.com. You can also see a list of activities here from the Mayo Clinic and how many calories they burn. Whether you are dashing through the snow or shoveling it, make sure you are staying as active as you can. You’ll be thankful you did and after the holidays are over, you feel confident you’re still on track.

The AllStride Team