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Five ways to avoid holiday weight gain

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The holiday season is here again and usually that means lots of celebrating with family and friends. During this time of the year, the day of the week doesn’t really matter, as almost everyday there are lots of Christmas parties to attend, social events and end of year get-togethers at work. Indeed, it is the most wonderful time of the year loaded with lot of treats and merriment and booze!

It takes a lot of self discipline and self control to stay on track with eating healthy and exercising during this period. People, generally, tend to overeat and overindulge during Christmas and by the time the New Year comes around, and can’t fit into their favorite jeans, they quickly go from “Ho-Ho-Ho” to “Oh-No-No-No.” The way to avoid the extra weight is to find a balance during the holiday season. Here are five ways to have a healthy new year.

Say ‘No’!
Truly, it might be easier said than done and that is why practice is needed. During this festive period, you will be offered different kinds of unhealthy treats. The good news is, you don’t have to accept all. It is okay to respectfully decline. Some family members may even pressure you to have some more cake or use phrases like, “This is Christmas time, enjoy yourself.” But you should be able to determine when you have had enough.

Drink more water!
This is a tried and tested trick. Water is very filling. If you drink two cups of water before a meal, chances are you would eat less of that meal. During this holiday period, it is advisable to load up on water first before any meal because there would be less space for anything else. Just have a bottle of water handy and keep drinking it throughout the day. This would automatically translate to eating fewer calories, and ultimately avoiding holiday weight gain.

Ditch the booze
What’s a Christmas party without alcohol, right? Wrong! Yes, you can drink but please, not excessively. Drinking too much alcohol is a sure way to pack on the extra weight. Not only does it have unnecessary calories, over drinking also tends to make you lose your inhibitions and overeat. It is also important to get familiar with the serving size for alcohol, because some people can finish a bottle of wine with one meal and consider it one serving. An average bottle of wine has five servings and most people go through a few bottles in a day! The maximum recommended amount of alcohol is, seven drinks per week for women and 14 drinks per week for men. Anything more than that is binge drinking.

To say no to a glass of bubbly during the festivities may not seem realistic for some people but it is absolutely doable. Prepare your mind that you would have only one glass of wine or a bottle of beer. Once you have another glass, it’s going to be hard to say no to a third, and by the time you know it, you’ve had one too many. So, always have a plan and stick to it. Sip on sparking water in between alcohol intake. This will not only minimize the weight gain, but it will also reduce the stress on your liver during the holidays and you’ll feel better overall.

Don’t ditch your exercise routine
It is no news that most people will eat more during the holidays. It is almost unavoidable. This is why exercising is a must! You do not have to go to the gym in order to get your workout done. Now is the time to try fun, new exercises, either alone, or you can make it even more interesting by involving the whole family. Try to incorporate more physical activity throughout the day; jump rope in the morning, walk more, use the stairs, organize fun games that involve a lot of physical activity. These are ways to burn off additional calories during this period. If you are consistent with this, you may find that even with all the chocolate cake and Jollof rice you may have eaten, your weight remains the same. The goal is to make sure that calories in equals calories out. If you must eat, then be sure to exercise just as much to burn it off.

Eliminate stressors
For some people, the holiday season can be a very stressful one leading to stress eating. Stress increases stress hormones such as cortisol which in turns causes one to crave sugary, fatty foods. Instead of turning to food, it’s better to do some yoga or get a massage to de-stress. It is also helpful to try and identify what may be causing you to be stressed and eliminate the source of the stress. This will prevent overeating due to stress.

Gaining weight during the holidays is a very common thing but it can be controlled. Overeating, over-drinking and excessive partying not only quickly pack on the pounds, but also takes a toll on the body’s vital organs. Don’t be caught unprepared for the New Year. Try out these five tricks this holiday and keep those excess pounds at bay.


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ChristmasNini Iyizoba

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