Many people have difficulty getting through the holiday season without gaining a few pounds.  There can be numerous temptations that derail our best efforts and make us abandon our healthy habits.  But holiday weight gain is not inevitable.  The following tips can help us enjoy the seasonal celebrations with family and friends without feeling guilty in January.

Stay active.

Everyone is busy during the holiday season, but this is not the time to skip your regular exercise routine.  It’s easy to gain weight with all the festivities and extra treats, so physical activity is a great way to work off those extra calories.  Even if we travel away from home, there are opportunities to stay active.  Use the exercise room in the hotel, take a walk with family and friends, or play outside with the kids.  All these activities will burn calories.

Eat a balanced diet.

To balance out all the carbohydrate-rich foods consumed over the holidays, make sure to eat proteins, fruits, and vegetables.  Fiber rich foods help us feel more full, so we tend to eat less.  Don’t go to a party hungry.  Plan to eat some healthy snacks before going to avoid filling your plate with unhealthy, high-calorie foods.  Skip the second helpings or that extra trip through the buffet line.  Limit your intake of alcohol, which adds significant amounts of sugar and empty calories.

Get plenty of sleep.

Sleep deprivation may contribute to weight gain.  Studies show that individuals who are sleep deprived tend to eat more.  Fatigue from inadequate sleep can cause them to reach for unhealthy snacks high in sugar and fat for a quick energy boost.  They may skip their workout because they are too tired.  Poor sleep quality is associated with glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress, all of which can have serious health effects.  Adults should get 7 or more hours of sleep each night.

Control stress.

Extra responsibilities and commitments, end-of-year work deadlines, and increased holiday spending can all lead to stress around the holidays.  Stress can affect our body, our mood, and our behavior.  High levels of stress can negatively affect sleep patterns.  Individuals may have difficulty falling asleep or have fragmented sleep with frequent awakenings.  Take steps to manage stress, such as getting enough exercise, eating a balanced diet, limiting caffeine and alcohol, practicing relaxation techniques, and setting aside time for hobbies or other things you enjoy.

Next Steps

The physicians at RMD Primary Care are available during the holiday season to provide for your healthcare needs.  Contact us to schedule an appointment.