Holiday Weight Gain: The Elephant in the Room

December 2, 2017


We should probably talk about he elephant in the room before we become the elephant in the room:


Holiday weight gain is often a big (pun intended) subject of conversation around the holiday dinner table, and the discussion usually begins about the time someone is letting out their belt buckle a couple extra notches.


Of course, everyone will have an idea or an opinion on the matter, or a humorous anecdote to relate. Unfortunately, the stories usually tend toward the negative, the noble attempts and the inevitable failure to shed those additional pounds. However, that does not have to be the case. You can be the exception rather than the rule.


The good news is that there is no hard and fast approach to this problem. You can, and should, use whatever means works best for you. Fortunately, in this day and age, there is no lack of suggestions for solutions. A lot of clever people are coming up with clever ways to deal with this dilemma, giving everyone options from which to choose and select the one that best suits the individual and their fight against holiday weight gain.



Everything in Moderation


You don’t have to pig out to enjoy a feast. There are various types of dinnerware and glassware that helps you to keep an eye on the size of your portions.


Also, serve your feast buffet style. Rather than bring the spread to the table, you can leave it in the kitchen. Once you finish what’s on your plate, you can take a breath, let everything settle and then decide if you really need another pile of potatoes and gravy and stuffing and cranberries and ham and turkey and rolls and....


Cheap, reusable food containers are a great way to unload a lot of leftovers. By giving everyone a little to take home, you won’t feel obligated to keep it all and eat it all. And once everyone has their own take-home portions, if there’s still more food left, you can use additional containers to store small servings in your freezer. That way you won’t feel obligated to gobble it all up within the next few days.


Whatever you do, don’t play the starvation game. Fake news is a big deal these days, and the belief that you can eat more later if you eat nothing during the day would make the top of the fake news hit parade. Instead, have smaller meals during the day, even if it’s just a protein shake or a good protein bar


Also, fiber is a good option to keep sated without making you feel full. If you don’t have any veggies handy, there are some tasty fiber bars that will do the trick.


And don’t forget your water. Take it with you, if you have to. Not only is it a great way to keep something in your belly without adding calories to it, this simple libation accomplishes so much more: it carries nutrients to cells, helps eliminate toxins, prevents dehydration, and it aids the body in metabolizing and burning fat.



Keep Moving


This is more about what you can do for yourself before and after those holiday banquets, and for the rest of your life.


The catch-phrase you hear often these days is, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Movement is extremely important when it comes to staying fit. And it doesn’t necessarily require an Olympian workout to achieve. In fact, there are dozens of exercises and routines you can do right now, in your own home, without any equipment.


Also, look for any reason to make yourself move or walk more. My boyfriend is always teasing me about trying to find a parking space as close as possible to the entrance of the grocery store or mall. If you’re like me, you have to make yourself park farther away. Those few extra steps will add up and you will benefit from them. Don’t forget, ostensibly, we’re talking about avoiding the lure and traps of holiday weight gain, but it’s important to remember that these are tips that you can continue for the rest of your life.


Emotional eating—using food to compensate for sadness or anxiousness—is obviously a major obstacle. But meditation techniques—muscle relaxation, deep breathing, mindfulness—can help binge eaters become aware of how they turn to food to deal with emotions. This is especially important at parties where a ton of food is on display. And while you’re meditating, contorting your limbs in the classic lotus position, there’s no reason why your butt must be sore. There are meditation cushions that will keep your backside comfy during these contemplation exercises.


And when the time comes to be at rest, you want to make sure you stay at rest. With all the gadgets and gizmos and things around us that glow in the dark, it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t underestimate the benefits of something as simple as a sleep mask to get you through the night.


Finally, let’s not forget the power of positive thinking. Nothing can ever be accomplished if you don’t start with the right frame of mind. Some of you can do it by giving yourselves pep talks. Some need external stimulation, like stickers or daily affirmations. Again, you want to use whatever works best for you. The fact that you’ve taken the time and put forth the effort to acquire one of these prompts is really the first step. 


Any of the tips offered above would be another step. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. Just remember to keep moving. Before you realize it, holiday weight gain will be a forgotten foe, and you will have long out-distanced that lethargic, snoozing elephant in the room.


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