3 Little-Known Tips for Beating the Holiday Bulge…
Contrary to popular belief, winter weight gain need not be an inevitability; extensive research shows that, unlike many mammals, humans are not biologically predisposed to weight gain during the colder months—our metabolisms don’t slow down and our appetites don’t actually increase. The only reason our weight changes during winter is that our habits change.
While holiday overeating is often pinned as the culprit, in reality, having an extra slice of pie at Thanksgiving or a large Christmas dinner is unlikely to be the sole cause of seasonal weight woes. Instead, it’s the long-term differences in how we eat, drink, and exercise that do the most damage, leading to a gain of (on average) 5-7 pounds by the time spring rolls around.
Not all of these bad habits are immediately obvious, however, which is why winter weight gain creeps up on so many of us even if we’re careful not to binge-eat during the winter holidays. If your past efforts to cut down the size of your holiday portions did nothing to keep the numbers on the scale from creeping up, try these three strategies to help you avoid winter weight gain:
- Reduce (or eliminate) alcohol consumption. Between Christmas and New Year’s parties at the office, with friends, and with family, even usually light or moderate drinkers tend to end up consuming many more glasses of wine or mixed drinks than they would regularly—unaware of just how many calories this heaps on top of their (already heavier) holiday diets. A single glass of wine often contains in excess of 100 calories, while a sugary mixed drink may have over 300 calories per serving; as such, having several drinks at every function between December and January can therefore add up dramatically.
- Pay attention to how much you’re snacking. While having a one-day food marathon on Thanksgiving or Christmas day is unlikely to totally ruin your diet, many of us find ourselves in possession of a lot of leftover food after these holidays end. Not wanting it all to go to waste, we feel a subconscious pressure to finish it up, and are soon snacking much more than we usually would, and on more calorie-rich food to boot. In order to avoid doing so, consider giving leftover food away, either to friends or to a charity, and return to your normal diet as soon as these holidays have ended.
- Make exercise a priority. When it’s freezing cold outside and we’re coming home in the dark, it becomes very tempting to just curl up in front of the TV for the rest of the evening—leading to a complete lack of physical activity. This, of course, subsequently compounds our heavier holiday eating habits. Instead of succumbing to this sluggish lifestyle, make a habit of finding some way to still work exercise into your day—either by taking trips to the gym, walking somewhere indoors (such as at the mall), or purchasing home gym equipment.
Share with me some of the ways you avoid gaining winter weight. I look forward to hearing from you.
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