6 easy tips to promote weight maintenance during the holidays

*I would be remiss if I failed to mention the above Thanksgiving shenanigans lacked some VIP’s…y’all know who you are😘

For many Americans, this time of year equals unwanted (although easily avoided) weight gain. With what seems like everybody and their brother following some sort of fad diet (ketogenic, intermittent fasting, etc), it is no wonder the holidays are a welcome excuse to throw moderation to the wayside and consume every tasty treat in sight. However, I hope this article provides some food for thought, in regards to your current eating/drinking habits!

  1. Drink 16oz of water upon waking. Have you ever noticed the color of your urine is (for most people) so much darker, compared to the rest of the day? Going all night without drinking any fluids results in a slightly dehydrated state in the morning… no bueno! Adequate hydration is necessary for a normal functioning metabolism, temperature regulation and may help decrease appetite. Some studies even suggest that drinking plenty of water may help promote weight loss. Who wouldn’t raise a glass to that? (Click here to determine how much water you should be drinking each day.)
  2.  Move more in the morning. Alliteration anyone? I digress. As few as five minutes of gentle stretching/body weight exercises is enough to get the blood flowing and your heart pumping. Why does it matter? Increased blood flow equals more alertness and you may feel more energetic. This is because blood transports oxygen throughout the body, via iron. More oxygen may make you feel more alert. Need some ideas? Hip bends, arm circles, body weight squats and if you’re feeling really good, some push-ups! More energy may make you less inclined to reach for that sugary energy drink, saving hundreds of calories!
  3. Drink at least 64oz of water (or zero calorie/low calorie) fluids each day. While we discussed starting off on the right foot as soon as you rise for the day, it is equally important you build on that momentum. The holidays are an especially busy time of year, but ensuring you drink enough water throughout the day is an easy way to help you stay on track, nutrition-wise. If you find yourself getting tired of plain water, try flavoring it with fresh produce (pineapple chunks, lemon or lime wedges, even cucumber slices and mint!) Other ideas: LaCroix Sparkling Water (no calories, sweetener or sodium) or True Lemon (perfect to throw in your purse and go!)
  4. Limit alcohol. Speaking of beverages, this one sure gets a lot of attention this time of year. If you enjoy libations, be sure to do so in moderation, for a variety of reasons: added calories, promotes lipogenesis, increases appetite, disrupts normal sleep cycles and even more importantly: DRIVING BUZZED IS A FOWL PLAY ON TURKEY DAY. Seriously though, don’t do it! If you are planning to enjoy a free drinks here a few tips to cut back on calories: use calorie free mixers, stick with clear liquors, avoid high calorie bombs (eggnog, hot buttered rum, white russian or spiked hot cocoa to name a few), drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.
  5. Add 10 minutes to your current exercise routine. If you don’t currently work out on a regular basis, what better time of year to start?! I recommend building up to working out (heart rate elevated to 60% of max) at least five days a week, for thirty minutes. Not only will this help keep your waistline trim, you’ll get a boost of feel good endorphins! That is something to be jolly about! 🎅😀👍🏻
  6. Aim for 8 hours of shut eye. Running here, there and yonder during the holidays can leave you short on sleep…which can wreak havoc on your waistline. Studies indicate inadequate sleep results in increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone, in large quantities, has been associated with inability to lose weight. Not only is weight loss harder to achieve when we receive fewer “z’s”, but, we are also crave high carbohydrate containing foods, double whammy! Physiologically speaking, carbs are more quickly metabolized than the other two calorie containing macros (protein and fat). It’s nature’s way of ensuring we have enough energy when we are sleep deprived.

Well, there it is! Drink plenty of water, move more and get adequate sleep, to help prevent unwanted weight gain this Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa etc! Easier said than done some days. I always encourage folks to focus on the most immediate goal, myself included. For example, when you wake up with a million things on your to-do list, focus only on the first item. Once that is completed, cross it off, and move on to the next task. So much easier than biting off more than you can chew, pun intended😉

Happy Holidays, Y’all!