The holiday season is underway and, and for some, that also means holiday weight gain. A lot of numbers are thrown around with regards to how much weight people actually gain. The truth is, the “average” person gains about three to five pounds during the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
You might be thinking, “That’s not a lot of weight,” but the trouble is not the weight gain, it’s the weight loss, or lack thereof. The fact is most people don’t lose that weight come January. Instead, it adds up year after year, and “suddenly” you’re 20 pounds heavier, a term researchers call “creeping obesity.”
This year, rather than waiting until 2015 to try to get back on track, stay on track through the end of 2014 with these seven tips from nutritionist Christopher R. Mohr, guaranteed to help you avoid dreaded holiday weight gain throughout the holiday season… and beyond!
- Make sure you get your exercise in first thing in the morning. During the holidays, you're going to eat (and probably drink) more calories than usual, so making time for exercise is a must. Think of it like a checkbook that needs to be balanced; don't go crazy and promise you'll be more responsible in January.
- Go for a walk, post meal. After you do the dishes, fight the urge to just collapse on the sofa. Instead, give your metabolism a little boost with some movement and fresh air (weather permitting).
- If you're preparing the meal, try some slightly healthier alternatives. While you don't need to revamp the menu to tofu and wheat grass, there are some simple strategies that will go undetected by even the finest of palates. Things like using half the butter and sugar a recipe calls for and switching from full fat milk to chicken broth for mashed potatoes. Trust me; your guests won’t even blink an eye!
- Don't hover over the buffet table. You will eat more when an entire table of food is beckoning. Pick your options, put them on your plate and then step away from the buffet table.
- Pick your favorite foods and enjoy small portions of them. Dinner rolls are a waste of time. You can get them whenever you want. At the holiday, choose foods that are a bit more unique, the ones you may only have once a year and enjoy them (in moderation, of course).
- Give away any leftovers. We know there’s nothing nicer than leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast (ok, and lunch too), but keeping those delicious leftovers around just equals temptation. Do yourself a favor and send each guest home with a care package of leftovers.
- Get right back on track that evening or the next morning, depending on the time you eat dinner. One meal will never make or break you. Throwing your arms up in the air and claiming defeat will.
Remember that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are just three days out of an entire six or so weeks. If you follow these tips, it will be smooth sailing from here to ’15, and your skinny jeans will be waiting to greet you on the other side. Bon appetite!
Dr. Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD, is a consulting Sports Nutritionist for the Cincinnati Bengals and is the Sports Nutritionist for Under Armour’s TNP Training Council. He also consults for organizations such as the Discovery Health Channel, The Dairy Council, Clif Bar and Nordic Naturals. He is on the Advisory Board for Men’s Fitness Magazine and has written over 500 articles for consumer publications from Men’s Fitness, Weight Watchers to Men’s Health and Fitness. Dr. Mohr has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Nutrition and a PhD in Exercise Physiology. He recently teamed up with top Todd Durkin to create a 21 day fat loss program, aptly titled 21 Day Fat Loss Jumpstart (www.21dayfatlossjumpstart.com).