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Worried about weight gain during the holidays? This is what you can do

Holiday weight management tips

Delicious spreads, drinks, snacks, candies, and cakes are some of the irresistible goodies we associate the holiday season with. But did you know? A survey of individuals living with type 2 diabetes found that nearly half of them reported that managing their condition during the fall and winter holiday season is more difficult than other times of the year. Some general studies also suggest that the holiday season can lead to weight gain in adults, even in those who are trying to lose weight or are motivated to track their weight. 

These studies indicate that the holiday season may bring additional stress and difficulties for individuals with diabetes in maintaining their health goals. 

Let’s take Emily’s story, for example. With all the tempting holiday treats, parties, and a week of rest from work, she consumes more food than her body can digest. For individuals like Emily, solving this challenge becomes important, especially with Christmas festivities and the New Year’s Eve celebrations around the corner.

With this in mind, why don’t we ease your worries and explore ways to enjoy the holidays without gaining weight? We’ve got some great tips to help you balance indulgence and staying healthy during this festive time.

Understanding Factors Contributing to Weight Gain

Before we jump into the tips, let’s understand what leads to gaining weight during the holidays. There are three main reasons:

Eating More

When the table is laid with a spread of your favorite dishes, it’s hard to resist and easy to get carried away. With all these tasty options, it’s common to have larger portions or go for second helpings without even realizing it.

Moving Less

During the holidays, our routine often changes. We might find ourselves lounging more, whether it’s at family gatherings, watching movies, or simply taking a break from our usual activities. This decrease in movement and physical activity can contribute to weight gain.

Stress Eating

Planning events, buying gifts, or handling family dinners can create a lot of pressure. Stress affects our eating habits. Some people eat more when they’re stressed, turning to comfort foods or extra snacks to cope.

Understanding these factors helps us see how the holiday environment can influence our eating and activity patterns. It provides insight into managing our health during this festive time.

Strategies to Manage Weight During the Holidays

The holidays bring joy, but it can also bring concerns about staying healthy. Here are some ways to avoid holiday weight gain and savor the celebrations without fretting about extra pounds.

Mindful Eating Techniques

  • Use smaller plates to control portions. Enjoy your favorite treats but in moderation. Taking smaller portions lets you try different dishes without overeating.
  • Take your time with meals. Taking your time to chew and pausing between bites allows you to feel full more easily. This way, you avoid eating more.
  • Listen to your body. It may sound weird, but it helps! If your body signals that you’re hungry, eat. When you feel satisfied, stop.

Healthier Food Choices

  • Keep fruits and veggies near you. Aside from being nutritious, they can fill you up with fewer calories.
  • Opt for healthier cooking methods. Instead of frying, try grilling, steaming, or baking. Doing these methods helps eliminate extra calories from oils or fats.
  • If you have diabetes, you might think about reserving high-calorie treats for special occasions only. This approach lets you take control of your calorie intake.
  • Despite holiday meals being rich in carbs, remember about protein. Incorporating protein with every meal keeps you full and maintains weight. Protein-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, quinoa, and various plant-based options. However, avoid saturated meats like sausages and bacon.

Staying Active

  • During the holidays, you expect parties, so take this opportunity to dance to your favorite Christmas tunes.
  • Engage in holiday-themed activities that involve movement, like ice skating, playing in the snow, or decorating the house. These activities not only bring joy but also keep you moving.
  • Consider exercising after a big celebration. A morning walk, yoga session, or simple home workout can shed some of those extra calories consumed during the festivities.

Managing Stress

  • Amidst the holiday rush, you need to practice calming exercises like deep breathing or brief meditation to ease stress. It’s crucial to unwind and find moments of tranquility during this busy time.
  • With the excitement of festivities, getting enough sleep can be challenging. However, aim for quality sleep as it plays a role in managing weight. During the holidays, inadequate sleep might increase cravings for high-calorie treats and reduce the motivation to stay active.
  • Studies suggest that inadequate sleep can disrupt the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), affecting various bodily functions, including metabolism. Being mindful of sleep patterns during the holidays can contribute significantly to managing weight.

Tips for Navigating Social Gatherings

During the holidays, social gatherings often revolve around tempting dishes and indulgent treats. However, it’s possible to enjoy these events while making mindful choices for your well-being. Consider these useful suggestions to follow:

Plan for Gatherings

Prepare for social events by having a light but balanced meal before you attend the event. It can prevent overeating during gatherings. Also, consider looking at the menu beforehand to make healthier choices.

Bring Healthier Dish Options

Volunteer to bring a healthy dish to share. Opt for vegetable trays, fruit salads, or whole-grain dishes. It ensures you have healthier options available and encourages others to enjoy them, too.

Manage Alcohol Intake

Be mindful of alcohol consumption. Alcoholic drinks can contain lots of calories. Opt for lighter options or alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages or water to moderate your intake.

Engage in Non-Food-Related Activities

Shift the focus from food to fun activities. Join in games, dance, or engage in conversations that don’t revolve around eating. It not only diversifies the gathering but also reduces the temptation to snack constantly.

Navigating social events with these strategies allows you to enjoy the company of others while making healthier choices during the holiday season. 

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Filter by Categories
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Arthritis
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Research
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Type 1 Diabetes
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Uncategorized
Weight Loss
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