5 Ways To Not Gain Weight Over The Holidays

Christmas-tree shaped holiday snacksIt’s that time of year: Holiday office parties, Christmas dinners, sugar cookies  and festive cocktails. Add to the mix a dose of holiday stress and there’s no wonder why most of the average American’s annual weight gain occurs between October and February.

Here are 5 tips to avoid excessive weight gain during this holiday season:

  • De-stress. Holiday stress can raise cortisol levels, contributing to belly/visceral fat.  Counter stress with the “Luckie 7″ breathing technique: Inhale to a count of 7, hold for a count of 7, exhale to a count of 7. Do this 7 times.
  • Catch some Zzzzzzs.  A lack of sleep can suppress leptin ( hormone that signals fullness) and heighten ghrelin ( hormone that signals hunger).The adverse effect on these hormones can contribute to overeating. Low quantity/quality sleep can also exacerbate the stress many of us feel this time of year. Attempt to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night to assist in keeping your appetite and stress in check.
  • Travel with snacks. Avoid going to holiday parties and dinners on an empty stomach. This can contribute to overeating. Instead, consume high fiber snacks (just before festive events) to assist with satiety. Healthy choices include apples, raw nuts and popcorn ( with iodized sea salt, no cheese, no butter).
  • Load up on water. Water tricks the body into feeling full and can reduce the risk of overeating. Water also counters some of the dehydration effects of alcohol.
  • Exercise. Stick to your workout regimen (or start one) to keep off the excess pounds. Exercise is also a great stress buster.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season.