Many women hesitate to jump into a new lifestyle program as the year comes to a close. The laundry list of responsibilities grows during this time of year while the temptations for sweets, alcohol, food, and the frequency of parties, events, and social obligations increases. Many feel it is virtually impossible to lose, or even maintain, weight around this time of year. So, is it even possible to lose weight in the last three months of the year? YES! ABSOLUTELY! It is 100% possible to maintain your weight during the holiday season! Below, I have accumulated my best tips and tricks (my secret weapons, if you will) that you can utilize to put an end to those extra holiday pounds.
- Be ACTIVE with family and friends – You may need to initiate it this, but it is so beneficial to be accountable to others with a consistent exercise regimen. Plus, it is a win-win as your family and friends will most likely appreciate the push towards increased physical activity. Inactivity has been shown to increase your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Be conscious of your portion sizes – My favorite way to control portion size is choose a smaller plate as opposed to a larger one. Also, before getting seconds, wait 10-15 minutes and drink a glass of water. Then ask yourself if you really are hungry for more.
- SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP – Sleep is especially during the holiday season. Often times we sacrifice adequate sleep because of our hectic schedules, responsibilities, and social obligations. Prior to committing to events, schedule time to sleep to ensure you are getting at least 8 hours each night.
- Manage stress levels – You might think I am crazy suggesting that it is even possible to manage stress at this time of year BUT it is so incredibly important. I have recently implemented meditation into my daily routine and absolutely love the practice and the resulting benefits. There are many apps you can download to aide you in this practice.
- Eat plenty of fiber – Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is extremely important for maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal track, normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, and controlling blood sugar levels. Fiber also induces feelings of fullness, which helps minimize overindulgence, overeating, and subsequently, weight gain.
- Bring a healthy dish to the social gathering –Remember, you are in control of what you consume. If you are one to fall for temptations, then I especially encourage you to prepare and bring a healthy option to parties to decrease your likelihood of consuming the unhealthy, processed, sugary foods so common during this time of the year.
- Watch your liquid choices – Yes, I said it: pay attention to what you are drinking. Alcohol consumption tends to increase this time of year so choose to make health-conscious drink decisions. Opt for champagne or red wine over sugar-dense mixed drinks or spirits with soda.
I sincerely hope you will consider implementing some (or ALL!) of these secret weapons this holiday season. Remember, it IS possible to maintain or even lose weight during the last three months of the year but YOU are in charge of your health and your decisions. Take charge of your own health and end this year with a bang!! Check out The Galveston Diet if you are interested in learning more.
Mary Claire Haver, MD