If you’re like many Americans, a weight gain of up to 5 lbs isn’t unheard of during the holiday season. In fact, it might even be expected! But if you pack on an extra 5 lbs and don’t lose it through the coming year, it adds up – and quicker than you might think, too.
Most people fall off the wagon with their diet and exercise routines between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Fewer daylight hours and cooler temps (even in Southern California) make getting outside or to the gym tougher. Your schedule gets even busier with parties, family gatherings, and shopping excursions. Now add to that all the wonderful comfort foods and sweet treats you HAVE to have at the holidays!
Sounds like a losing battle, right?
It’s not! You can still have plenty of fun over the holidays – even indulge yourself a little – and avoid the spare tire and guilty conscience that come with it!
So, don’t resign yourself to the holiday weight gain – fight it with these 7 tips.
And remember, every little bit helps! You don’t have to do a super long workout, and exercise doesn’t have to be all at once either.
7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
1. At every opportunity, walk.
Going holiday shopping? Park far away and seize the opportunity to get a quick workout in. You know parking is going to be terrible anyway – why not just park far away and burn some calories? Walk briskly (or even jog!) to the shopping mall.
While you’re at it, take a lap of the shopping mall before you begin your shopping. Great way to scan the shops for good sales, too!
Take your family out for walks to see Christmas lights and holiday decorations. We love Balboa Island and Naples Island for the outstanding displays!
2. Reduce your stress.
The holidays can be a really stressful time for some. Family dynamics can be tricky, money may be tight, and you’re hosting a million people in your home – which isn’t even close to being ready. Take some time for yourself to decompress. Meditate, enjoy a hobby, go to a yoga class or for a run outside (The Haute Room is an excellent place to de-stress!) and burn off some steam. Just keep it healthy: this is NOT the time to drown yourself in comfort food or alcohol.
3. Clean house.
Literally and figuratively.
Doing a nice winter cleaning of your home is a great way to burn calories and accomplish something much-needed! You’ll purge your home of things you don’t need anymore, take some donations to the thrift store, get your stuff organized, and have a clean, comfortable home prepared for your family and holiday guests!
Also, surround yourself with people who support you and encourage you to stay healthy. If you need to nix some people from your life, do it.
4. Put it on the calendar.
Sometimes just planning it out ahead of time and putting it into your schedule can make all the difference. Plan out your workouts at least one week in advance, put it on your calendar, and get a partner to join you!
Hint: Try to workout during the morning hours if possible. The days are short and busy – it’s so easy for them to get away from you.
5. Take up winter sports.
Did you know ice skating for an hour can burn up to 600 calories?!
We’re pretty spoiled here in Orange County to have virtually everything within driving distance. Take a couple of days and drive up to Big Bear to ski, snowboard, or sled with your family. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! You’ll have family time, fun time, AND get some good workouts in!
6. Sign up for a race.
Having something to work toward is a great way to stay motivated during the holiday season. Sign up for a race (yes, actually sign up and pay for it – don’t just mentally commit) either during the season or just after the first of the year and get a training plan into place so you’ll know when and how much you need to work out.
7. Eat healthy.
Obviously you’re going to attend parties and gatherings during the holidays. You might even get the “holiday baking bug” and make 200 cookies. (Oops.) That’s okay! You can still eat healthy the rest of the time.
Planning is key – if you know you’re going to a party this weekend, do your best to eat healthy all week. Minimize sugar (maybe limit yourself to one or two cookies per day) and alcohol, and stock up on veggies and other healthy foods.
Keep healthy snacks on hand and drink lots of water or hot tea to keep yourself from grabbing those Christmas cookies!
Healthy Tip: Winter is the time lots of people get sick. Wash your hands often, exercise regularly, and eat healthy. Sugar weakens your immune system, and dairy can contribute to mucus and congestion – so if you feel something coming on, cut back on sugar and dairy and drink lots of water!
Happy, Healthy Holidays from The Haute Room!