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Less Stress For the Holidays 1: Controlling Your Weight

Updated on November 1, 2017
Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives everyday by sharing her joy and love of life.

Let the Feasting Begin

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Holiday Weight Gain Begins Now

You roll out of bed on November 1, with a stomach ache and a headache. Even if Halloween fell during the middle of the week, you likely consumed more than a handful of delicious candy corn, a few miniature candy bars, and maybe even a few homemade treats.

Trick or Treat is over, and now it's time to pay the piper. Stomach feeling bloated, your head aching from a late night with too much sugar, you decide to skip your morning workout and head into the office. Thankfully, some saint decided to bring doughnuts for the staff, so your morning begins with a hot cup of black coffee and a sugary sweet treat.

At last, you busy yourself with work, feeling energized and slightly better from the caffeine in your system. By lunchtime, however, you're dragging. You feel drained and too tired to get up from your desk.

Looking at the calendar, you realize that Thanksgiving is only three short weeks away, with Christmas chasing on it's heels. The holiday madness has already begun.

It's not too soon to create a plan for maintaining your weight. You might want to lose weight during the holidays, but you can be realistic. Perhaps instead of losing weight, you consider not gaining weight.

Many people gain between 5-7 pounds during November and December, with an average gain of one pound, that never goes away. Those pounds add up over the years, until you look in the mirror and see a much heavier version of yourself.

This article describes practical tips for not gaining weight during the holidays.

Holiday Weight Gain

Quick Guide to Healthy Holiday Eating

Drink Plenty of Water - Stay Hydrated!

Get Enough Sleep - Stay Rested!

Eat Smaller Portions - Stay Focused!

Be Kind to Yourself - Stay Nice!

Hydration Helps Control Cravings

You receive many benefits by staying hydrated. Water makes up about 60 percent of an average human body. To maintain good health and to prevent weight gain, it's important to drink enough water every day.

Often, when you think you need to eat, your body is actually thirsty. Before you snack, enjoy a glass of cold water. Not only will you stay hydrated, but you will also fill your tummy, and not feel hungry. In addition, your body burns calories to warm the cold water to body temperature.

Another reason to drink more water during the holiday season that water has no calories. You can drink all you want, without gaining weight. The same cannot be said of other holiday beverages. From eggnog to punch, hot chocolate and wine, most beverages are loaded with calories. Calories add weight.

You don't have to completely avoid all social drinking. A smart strategy is to begin with a glass of water. Then, slowly sip your beverage of choice. About halfway through, drink another glass of water, before you finish your drink. Not only will you save calories, but you will save money too, if you're buying your own drinks!

For more information on the health benefits associated with drinking water, read the following article from Fitness Blender:

Getting & Staying Lean with Proper Hydration: How does Water Help with Weight Loss?

Why Water Matters

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Adequate Sleep Helps Maintain Healthy Weight

Getting adequate rest, especially during the holiday season, helps you maintain your weight.

Several studies indicate a link between obesity and inadequate sleep. In one study, participants slept only five hours, for five days. On average, participants gained nearly two pounds during the course of the study.

In addition, a lack of sleep increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been shown to increase appetite. Lack of sleep also impacts the production of hunger hormones, leading you to feel hungry.

Adequate sleep helps increase self control. When you feel tired, it becomes harder to make good choices. Not only is this true for life in general, but especially during the holiday's, when tempting food choices abound.

In general, getting a good nights sleep helps you in several ways, as you try to maintain your health during the holidays. It helps you maintain self control and make good food choices, and it helps your body maintain hormone balance.

To find out more about how sleep can help your health, read the following article, from the Health line newsletter:

7 Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight


Control Your Portion Size

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Portion Size Matters for Weight Control

Thanksgiving offers people an opportunity for gluttony. Without excuse, they revel in gorging themselves to the point of pain and suffering. If you don't want to gain weight during the holidays, then it is wise to control your portion sizes.

You don't need to deny yourself the pleasure of holiday goodies. Instead of completely avoiding things you love, consider limiting your intake.

Make cookies with the kids, enjoy the decorating and baking and creating. Then, plate up the cookies and deliver them to neighbors or take them to the office. Allow yourself, and your family, a few cookies, but don't feel obligated to eat every single cookie.

When indulging in a family feast, allow yourself small portions of the things you love. Don't feel obligated to eat things you don't like, and don't feel obligated to take seconds. You are in control of yourself. Drink a big glass of water a few minutes before the meal. Then, enjoy just a spoonful of your favorites.

Wait a few minutes before you eat more, and allow your food to settle. Visit with your friends and family. Drink some more water. Wait. There is no rush to gorge. The food will not disappear.

Get up, take a walk, then come back if you are still hungry. Listen to your body, before you get so full you can't move.

While it's easy to fall into the habit of piling a mountain of food, you can control your portions. When everyone else is stuffed full, you will feel good. When the holidays are over, and your friends and family are complaining about their weight gain, you can rest in the knowledge that you didn't gain an ounce.

Do You Usually Gain Weight During the Holidays?

How much weight do you usually gain during the holiday season?

See results

You're Getting Fat

Kindness Matters

Finally, in your quest to maintain your health over the holiday's, remember to be kind to yourself.

Everyday may not be perfect. Sometimes, you might eat too much. It's okay. It is not the end of the world. Drink some water, go to bed early, and start over the next day.

Try to make each day better than the day before. Don't beat yourself up for your mistakes. Instead, offer yourself a measure of grace. Extend the same compassion and kindness to yourself that you would offer to a dear friend. Treat yourself with kindness, no matter how many times you mess up.

Today, this moment, offers you another chance to begin again. Do not faint in doing good, but persist in your efforts. In the end, you will find peace. And that is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Be Kind. You do not Know the Struggles Everyone Else Endures

You Control You

In the end, you have complete control over yourself. You are not a victim of the holidays, or your Aunties pecan pie. You can control what you eat, how much you exercise, and how much you sleep.

Don't allow yourself to fall into a victim mentality. Take control of your health and enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty. Indulge in small areas, and for the most part, make good choices. Above all, be kind to yourself and the people you love.

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    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      9 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks Lily,

      When I saw that picture, things suddenly clicked into place for me. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Namaste

    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      9 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      FlourishAnyway,

      I agree with you. If I don't put it in my mouth, then I won't be tempted to continue eating past fullness. My secret is not to even start eating junk. Once my mouth loves the taste, my brain begs for more.

      Namaste

    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      9 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Nell, Thanks so much for your comment. I agree, I'm already gaining weight from all the holiday goodies!

      Thanks for reading and commenting and I hope you enjoy the holiday season!

      Namaste

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      All great tips. I loved the photo about serving size. It makes servings much more understandable than words like "1/2 Cup". Nice job!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      I get lots of sleep and drink plenty of water. Also, certain items are completely off-limits.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      9 months ago from England

      Hi, great advice and something I really really need! lol! luckily over here its just Christmas and no Thanksgiving but my stomach is expanding at a huge chocolate rate! so...lol!

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