Thanksgiving and Halloween have officially past and you can either be feeling super proud of yourself for avoiding the holiday binge, super down on yourself for because you didn’t, or maybe feeling like you didn’t go completely crazy like past holidays and for sure could have done better.
Did you know a typical person gains between 5 and 15 pounds between Halloween and New Years? And we typically spend most of the next year trying to lose it? It’s true.
It takes 3500 calories to gain one pound of body fat. So it’s not just that you doubled your intake of food that one day because even if you did that is only one pound.
It’s never just the single day it’s the trickle effect of all the treats that come into the house over the holidays, the Starbucks holiday drinks that your telling yourself you have to have because they only come once a year, the food gifts that are well intended, co-workers bringing treats to the office, and the treats that you are eating to help you cope with the stress of it all.
There’s also the attitude of screw it I’ve blown it already or it’s only one time of year as well as the skipping the healthy meals and snacks to save up for that big indulgence.
It all plays a role and then we are left feeling crappy because most of these foods aren’t even real food. The foods we are consuming are processed, sugar filled, carb-filled foods leaving us not only with weight gain but a feeling that we need to cleanse and completely start over.
So today is part one of two-part series on how to avoid the 5-15 pound gain this year and to give you a game plan that will keep you right on track in your weight and wellness journey.
Follow these tips and you’ll stay on track through the season.
- I preach this all the time- drink more water. Half your body weight in ounces is what you are aiming for. This keeps you hydrated which curbs cravings, keeps your blood sugar levels in check, improves memory, regulates blood pressure, avoids constipation and bloating and fatigue.
Many clients lose weight just drinking more water. I have a large Yeti and fill it several times then keep it with me and sip on it all day long. Keep in mind when I say water I mean water other beverages don’t count.
If you don’t like the taste of water you can add a little lemon or lime juice or essential oils.
- Keep your stress in check. Holidays can be one of the greatest times of stress. This can be due to crazier schedules, family, shopping etc. These can all be good things but when we are stressed our body goes into fight or flight which causes a blood sugar drop and then we want sugar because it’s a quick fix and this time of year it’s at our fingertips. This starts the roller coaster of blood sugar spikes and drops and wanting more sugar.
My favorite ways and the ways I recommend lowering stress:
- Sleep- sleep is when your body really restores itself and you burn the most fat.
- Exercise- consistent exercise and movement creates mental a physiological release from the stress response. It helps balance cortisol and pumps out those feel-good hormones.
It also keeps you burning calories and offset those extra calories and when you are exercising or working out you feel proud of yourself and that makes you want to care for yourself in other ways like through food.
This doesn’t have to be hours a day or week at the gym. Just a walk at lunch or 10 minutes of weight resistance a few times a week makes a huge difference. Weight resistance keeps your metabolism in check and you actually burn calories after even up to three days.
10 minutes a day adds up and when you do 10 often you want to do 15 or 20. This is definitely true for me and how I created my workout ritual.
Also, don’t wait until the new year to join the gym, join a class and commit to working out. Start now.
- Meditation- Meditation instantly slows and stops the stress response. There are tons of meditation apps out there. Headspace is one I often have clients start with. Commit to 5 minutes 2-3 times a day. Set a reminder and just do it. Again, these short commitments will create long-term habits.
- Watch your alcohol intake. They are very high in calories and are often stored as fat. My recommendation is to rotate cocktails with water or sparkling water- something with no additional calories or additives. You can add some lime or lemon or a sprig of mint or rosemary.
Additionally, alcohol impacts sleep even if it consciously doesn’t feel like it and that interferes with metabolism and lowers inhibitions making those other high-carb, sugary foods look better.
The bottom line is if you drink every night you are hampering your weight loss not just because of the calories but because of the sugar. If your body is busy detoxing the alcohol it’s not doing a great job with the sugar.
Start with these tips and I’ll be back in a couple days with the rest of my tips to keep you feeling your best during this holiday season.