Holiday weight gain can often derail even the most successful diets. With so many delicious treats at your disposal and the stress of the hectic holiday season keeping you from your exercise routine—not to mention possibly making you more likely to turn to sugary pick-me-ups—you may find it difficult to avoid gaining weight during the holiday season. Nevertheless, keep these suggestions in mind and you can stick to your healthier lifestyle.
1. Make Time to Exercise
Perhaps easier said than done, but essential to your plan to fend off holiday weight gain, is making time to exercise. If you have to break out a day planner and schedule in the time to work out at least three to five days a week, you should. If the snow or extra traffic or planning for holiday events keeps you from leaving home, add a few at-home workouts to your routine, with exercise equipment, videos and even fitness video games.
2. Don't Exercise Alone
While not everyone in your family or circle of friends may be on a diet, the fact is that everyone needs to get some exercise into their routines in order to stay fit. Ask your family members to join you when you work out at home. Ask a friend to meet you at least once a week for a walk around the neighborhood, a dance class or a session at the gym. When you're not alone, you'll have fewer excuses to avoid exercising during the busy holiday season.
3. Keep Portions Small
Holiday weight gain can be avoided the same way weight gain can be avoided throughout the year: concentrate on portions. If you're allowed to indulge in sugary desserts on your current diet, allow yourself one small sugary treat per day at a maximum—once a week would be even better if you have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight. Stick to it. Ask friends and family to keep the sugary sweets away from you and hand you your daily or weekly sweet treat if you can't exercise self-control.
4. Keep Healthy Snacks with You at All Times
If you feel full, you're less likely to indulge in sweet treats. If you have a healthy snack on hand, you can at least remind yourself that you should eat a healthy snack instead of sweet desserts if you hope to avoid holiday weight gain. Every morning, take the time to pack a few healthy snacks for yourself to last the day. Veggies, fruit, nuts, hummus and crackers, cottage cheese, yogurt and whatever other healthy snacks are appropriate for your diet make excellent choices. That way if someone brings sweet treats to your workplace or you're at a holiday party, you can reach for your healthy snack.
5. Bake Healthier Desserts
If you want to indulge in the sweet holiday spirit along with everyone else but you want to avoid holiday weight gain, make a few sweet desserts of your own. Seek out recipes with small amounts of sugar (or none at all) and desserts that are low in calories, fat and/or carbs. You can even make healthier treats out of ingredients like veggies, cottage cheese, fruits and nuts.