While the holiday season is a great time of year for catching up with family and friends, it’s not so great when it comes to staying on track with a healthy diet. Holiday parties, eating food while out shopping, and just a hectic schedule, in general, can encourage weight gain. It can also be difficult to make healthy choices when you’re always on the go.
Just because it’s hard to stick to a healthy eating plan during this time of the year doesn’t mean you should give up completely, however. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, so view those dreaded holiday pounds as a challenge–one that you can absolutely master!
Healthy Holiday Adjustments to Prevent Weight Gain and Stress
Gaining weight during the holiday season has to do with more than just food. For many people, hours spent shopping, evenings spent at holiday parties, and the stress of getting presents wrapped and homes prepared for guests can contribute to increased stress this time of year.
Stress is a known contributor to weight gain. According to Harvard Medical School, chronic stress causes the release of a hormone called cortisol. This substance increases appetite and the motivation to eat, and it–along with other stress-related hormones–encourages the body to seek high-fat, high-sugar foods for comfort.
If you’re among those tired holiday party goers who could use a break from holiday stress, consider these tips:
- Do more shopping online to eliminate eating out.
- Delegate holiday responsibilities (holiday cards, wrapping presents) to other family members.
- Watch your events calendar closely; space holiday parties out as much as possible.
- Schedule in your gym or fitness time rather than trying to “find” time throughout the day.
Remember: you’re in control. Family and friends don’t want to see you exhausted and haggard from trying to manage the holiday stress. If you feel worn down, don’t go to that holiday party. Don’t be afraid to say no. It’s that easy, and most people who care about you will understand.
If you want to lose weight, or prevent gaining extra pounds, it is important you manage your stress levels.
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