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Tips to control your weight during the holidays

Christmas scales

Ideas from our Nutritionist Sofia Marsetti to avoid those extra holiday pounds . . .

The onset of the holidays paired with restrictions due to COVID-19 make it very easy to indulge during this time of the year. So having a strategy in place to avoid unnecessary weight gain could tip the scales in your favor. On average, individuals gain around one to two pounds during the holiday season, which over the long term could have a substantial impact on your health.

Holiday weight gain seems to have a lasting effect on the body’s composition. Changes may occur among some populations that add to the risk of future weight gain. Therefore, I would like to share different tips to help you control your weight during the holidays and prevent any risk that can come with it.

1.    Portion size! Make sure you start small. That means choosing small amounts of the food you would like to try. This will also allow you to try all the things that are being offered without over-eating. I also encourage patients to use smaller plates to help control the quantity of food they are going to eat, and remember to eat slow! Enjoy the flavors you are tasting.

2.    Plan ahead. Offer to bring a tasty dish with low calories or choose a new recipe that contains nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. These two options will give something to fall back on, if you are not the host. Your friends will appreciate the gesture!

3.    Make sure you balance your intake of food during the day. Remember to eat smaller portions and a variety of foods and avoid starving yourself until dinner. This will also help you to control the quantity of food you eat.

4.    Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day. This will help you avoid food cravings.

5.    Exercise! During this time of the year it is easy to exercise less, which can contribute to both holiday and annual weight gain. Expending fewer calories while taking more in over the holidays will undoubtedly lead to weight gain in a relatively short period of time. In addition, some evidence indicates that seasonal exercise fluctuations may contribute to long-term weight gain that you may not notice at first. Therefore, maintaining a regular exercise program is important to control weight gain over time.

6.    Avoid high calorie snacks and sweets. This time of the year sweet treats are everywhere. Enjoy them occasionally, but resist the temptation to indulge daily. Try to have healthy snack options at hand like fresh fruit and nuts.

Maintaining your weight is all about balance, and finding yours will take time. Don't let setbacks deter you. Instead, make it a habit to be mindful of what and how you eat. Remember, this is a time to enjoy with the ones we love. We can certainly do that while taking care of our health too. Have fun and savor the moment!