Did you know, the average weight gain …

during the holidays is between 7 and 12 pounds?

As nice as it is being with our loved ones – extended time periods spent on holidays with family and friends can put a strain on relationships, eating patterns, work schedules and family harmony -ten resulting in stress and adding to  cravings and pounds around our hips.

Here are some tips on on keeping the nicest time the year – well … the nicest time the year:

1 – Relax – it’s a special time of the year

A healthy lifestyle does not mean following a strict meal plan at all times. If you eat healthy most the time, a bit indulging once in awhile is fine – there is no sustainable life tyle change without having fun once in awhile. Don’t feel guilty about indulging, it’s the holidays and you are allowed to. Feelings guilt and resentment have a much more negative impact on weight than a few more calories – they create stress-releasing hormones, causing cravings, the #1 reason for weight gain. Of course, that doesn’t mean to forget it all and eat until you faint at the chocolate fountain. But it also doesn’t mean you have to chew on celery stalks all night while everyone else has fun at the 10-tier-buffet.

2 – Watch alcohol intake

Sitting next to your least favorite relative can be challenging and alcohol might be the perfect solution to the endless stories about uncle’s boring stamp collection featuring extinct birds. But be careful, alcohol and it’s effect on weight gain is severely underrated. Some tips for moderate alcohol intake are …  1) drinking one glass water equivalent to one glass alcohol, 2) adding some fruit (watermelon, pineapple, strawberries or anything you like) to your Prosecco, or 3) mixing a glass white wine with sparkling water. Please remember – alcohol not only relaxes your mind, but also fatigues your “good-intention-muscle” – supporting overindulgence, so please be conscious around alcohol.

3 – Don’t starve yourself before a holiday feast

Many people fast (or eat extremely light) in anticipation evening feast. Don’t do this – if you come hungry to a festive dinner table or holiday buffet, chances are you will spark a serious metabolism roller coaster by overeating, resulting in heavy cravings making up for the prior starvation. Healthy tip: eat small portions over the day, preferably lot’s protein and veggies, and before you start your first plate at that evening feast, drink a glass water, and then again in between the second (or third) rounds to the buffet.

4 – Reach for protein – and be conscious about carbs

Try to fill your plate with as many veggies and protein – and be careful around carbs. A favorable plate ratio, especially at night, is 60 % veggies, 30 percent protein (meat/poultry/fish) and 10 % carbs. This will help you to stay in shape, avoid cravings and support a healthy sleeping pattern. Remember, carbs are converted into sugar in the body, creating metabolic spikes a few hours later, keeping you from sleeping and causing,ten, unbearable cravings.

5 -Wear tight closing

This may sound funny, but it really is a good signaling system for when you’re full.  When your clothing gets tight, you naturally will stop eating. Wearing wide clothing is not as beneficial as wearing tight clothing, especially around a buffet or overindulging dinner table.

6 – Be the hero this season

Okay, we all know it … when mom lectures you for the zillionth time about how to wear your hair more beneficially,  how to feed the kids more healthy or criticizes your better half …  don’t argue. Instead, try a new approach this year: give in and hug.  I know, it sounds weird at first, but being positive has a powerful impact on everyone around you (especially the negatives in your family, and you know who they are (:-))). Many families live hundreds and thousands of miles apart, and arguing through short times yearly togetherness  just aggravates anger and frustration – which in return can end up as pounds on your hips. Instead – try a new approach this year to family “advise” – breathe, lean back and let them talk it out (you know better anyway but they don’t need to know). You will be amazed about your family’s reaction when you break the usual cycle … especially if it’s out the ordinary. And when you think back to your many holiday’s memories years later, only the harmonic and positives will stuck, providing fond memories. And – they will remember you as the hero the season.

7 – Chew your food

Chew your food at least 30 times – I know … I can already see many virtual eyebrows bending upward. But honestly – this is not only something you should do at the holidays, but in all (overindulging) situations, because it really helps. The process Amylase (preparing the food in your mouth for healthy digestion) is a very powerful process and the more you chew your food, the better you prepare indigestion – which in return is all about healthy weight management. Another tip – lay down the silverware on the table while eating once in a while, have a conversation to your left and right (or whatever direction is comfortable) and drink water in between portions – it provides short, but powerful, resting periods through any feast, necessary for a favorite satiety level (fullness factor).

8 – Choose your sweets wisely

Sweets are a necessity for any holiday season, that is an indisputable fact. But there are choices you can make to stay on a healthy path. Choose 1) dark chocolate whenever possible – it provides healthy antioxidants and is a much healthier version than milk chocolate. Try to avoid high amounts 2) cookies or baked goods, their high carbohydrate content create heavy insulin (metabolic) sparks, providing an immediate high as sugar does, but creating heavy craving within a few hours later, only longing for more. Reach for 3) traditional christmas walnuts (or other nuts), they provide healthy omega-3 fats, lot’s healthy protein and help fighting cravings naturally.

Want more health and wellness tips?

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Please call me with any questions you might have 770.778.3535. I would love to hear from you! 

Yvonne Wilhelmi
Health Coach