It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas comes with family time and gatherings to celebrate traditions, but if you’re a normal American, you probably overindulge during the holidays leaving you with extra weight that can wear on your physical health. But there are a few things you can do about it!
If you have a family that is very good at baking and cooking (as I do – my mom and sister both have a talent with food), weight gain and unhealthy eating seem to come with the territory. But what if I told you there are a few ways to prevent going overboard this holiday season? I know it can be done, because I’ve done it, even amongst the incredibly tempting foods that surround me.
Statistics show that between mid-November and mid-January, adults in Western societies gain an average of 1 pound. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, most people never drop the weight and their unhealthy choices lead to further problems with sugar or other unhealthy habits as well.
To avoid the unnecessary and unhealthy weight gain many assume to be inevitable this time of year, consider trying the following:
Tip #1 – Drink Sparkling Water – instead of indulging with an alcoholic beverage or a sugary soda this Christmas, try drinking sparkling water instead. In my experience, if you already have a drink that appears bubbly, no one will ask you if you’d like something. Drinking sparkling water will save you tons of calories, unnecessary weight gain, and be kinder on your liver. If you dislike sparkling water, try sparkling apple cider, but keep in mind, there is a lot of sugar in apple cider and it can negatively affect your weight so keep it to an absolute minimum! I personally prefer the La Croix brand, however, buy what YOU like as long as there are only two ingredients: carbonated water, and natural flavors. If it has calories or sugar or artificial sweeteners you won’t be doing yourself any favors by switching from booze to sparkling water. If you drink sparkling water, I highly suggest you drink one of the high-quality brands. These will cost a little more, but alcoholic drinks will set you back so much more financially. The extra wallet padding is just an added bonus!
Tip #2 – Self Impose Limits – Give yourself a limit. For example, allow yourself one cookie or one piece of fudge, and then eat some vegetables from the veggie tray until you’re no longer hungry. Try to stick to your limits. The feeling of needing more sugary foods will pass the longer you go without partaking in it. It’ll also help if you are already full from snacking on healthy foods.
Tip #3 – Make Sugar Free Candy – I know, I know. This can’t be good, right? But honestly, I use this trick with my kids and it works! Give yourself and your children the sensation of sugar and a sweet treat without the organ damage that can come with indulging on sugar. This recipe is so good, that my kids prefer it over Reese’s peanut butter cups, and it truly helps them avoid overindulging on sugar. Plus, these homemade candies have a lot of healthy fats filling you and the kids up before you can even crave that cookie. Seriously! Give these a try:
1/4 cup of organic cold-pressed coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 Teaspoon monk fruit
Melt the coconut butter in the microwave until it’s liquid then mix everything together. Pour into silicone candy molds and store in the freezer. Coconut oil will melt if the temperatures go up, so make sure these stay cool.
Tip #4 – Focus on Meat and Veggies at Meals – Instead of eating those delicious starchy and carbohydrate loaded mashed potatoes first, fill up on meats or veggies. Don’t deny yourself foods you love, but consider eating those that are carb or sugar-heavy last and only if you think you have enough room. Use the excuse that you are full if you have to decline seconds, starches, or dessert. As long as you’ve eaten, most people won’t notice that it was a plate more full of vegetables and meat than anything else.
Tip #5 – Ignore The Jabs -Don’t worry about the jokes or the jabs that others will likely toss your way. Joke along with them! Laugh that you’ve chosen healthier options if you have to and say “yeah, yeah. This is just what I have been enjoying eating.” Brushing it off as opposed to creating a dramatic scene will be better for everyone. Learn that healthy eating is not normal for everyone and some jokes might occur.
Tip #6 – Realize NO ONE Can Force You – Stand up for yourself and make sure you aren’t succumbing to peer pressure. Families have good intentions, but they often don’t understand when you make decisions to better your personal habits and your health. If you don’t want pie, don’t take the piece of the pie. It’s that simple. It isn’t wasteful. Be true to yourself and brace for what could be an intolerant reaction.
Hopefully, these six tips will help you navigate your way through the holidays without any weight gain! If that’s not the case, don’t beat yourself up! Keep working toward a more health-conscious lifestyle and eventually, you’ll get there!