Skip to main content

Common Challenges: Happy and Healthy through the Holidays

Last year the New England Journal of Medicine published that on average North Americans gain one pound of weight from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.  Of course, this is an average number meaning some gain less and some gain more.

I've thought about this a lot because, in my opinion, Thanksgiving through New Years is the most difficult time of the year when it comes to nutrition counseling. Most of my clients live in absolute fear of gaining weight.  To them it means failure, disappointment, and can increase negative feelings about body image.  In addition to that fear, stress is at an all time high with holiday travelling, food preparation, and gift giving and focusing on nutrition can almost be debilitating.  

What if the focus on the holidays from a weight management perspective was just to maintain?   Would that take some of the pressure off or ease the fear of failure?  I think it's worth a try so here are some of my tips to maintain through the holidays.

1)  When it comes to holiday baking plan accordingly.  Your thoughtfulness is wonderful and I'm sure rewarding, but if having excess in your house promotes overeating it may not be worth making that extra batch or two.  In most cases two additional cookies a day added to your daily nutrition can add .25 to .5 of weight gain a week.  Evaluate your plan and change if necessary.  It's okay to allow yourself to be the priority.

2) Do you feel like you overeat when you have a special holiday meal?  Why don't you step completely out of your comfort zone and make new traditions by changing up your holiday menu? This allows for the holiday to become less about the food and more about the event.

3) Do you have a lot of holiday parties to attend?  Bring your own dish.   You can control what is in the dish by modifying the recipe or bringing something that may be a little healthier than the other offerings.  When you get to the party assess the offerings and plan to choose small portions of the other dishes.  Use your dish as the main staple for your snack or meal.

4)  Stay active.  If you don't "exercise" routinely that's okay but what simply moving more?  The fact of the matter is that physical activity helps burn calories. If you find that you eat a little more during the holidays physical activity can balance the extra calories you are consuming.   This doesn't mean you have to hit the treadmill.  Do something you like. Physical activity also helps release endorphins which can manage that extra stress.

5)  My final tip is to challenge yourself.  Plan for ANOTHER holiday meal after the holidays.  Invite your friends or keep it small with your family.  If you know you can get this meal another time during the year, do you still feel the need to overeat?  I often feel people overeat that pumpkin pie because they feel they can't get it any other time of the year.

I think we put enough pressure on ourselves and it's time to make a change.  If you are trying to lose weight you can always focus and be very successful for ten and a half months of a year.  If the remaining month and a half is maintenance that is still a win.  How about maintaining weight and healthy lifestyle changes this holiday?  Can you focus on celebrating all the great changes that have become habitual, and allow yourself to enjoy the real reason for the holidays?  Who's ready for the challenge?  Happy Holidays all!


Lose weight said…
With obesity predicted to affect more than 50 percent of the population in the next 40 years, the age of ‘fad diets’ and ‘quick weight loss’ has boomed to epic proportions. From the apple cider diet to the Quantum Wellness, to the 48 Hour Miracle diet, each of these weight loss programs all claim to promote immediate weight loss and increased vitality.
This is simply not correct. Fruits, veggies, whole grain, nut products, dried beans as well as oils, many include proteins. Meats in fact has high levels of sodium, fat and salt, particularly in red meat which is not so healthy due to its high levels of cholesterol. Whole grain, nuts, oils, and dried beans in fact onsist of more proteins than in meat products. Your own body requires at least 25 grams of protein per day ,so it is obvious you do not haveto eat only meat to obtain your day-to-day allowance.
lose weight

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

A Note to Self before "Bathing Suit Season"

We are coming up on Memorial Day Weekend. The pools will open, beach season begins, and everyone is scurrying around to buy new bathing suits or cover ups. Although I LOVE summer there's an aspect of this time of year that I very much dislike.  I absolutely cannot stand the insecurity bathing suits bring to the mind. How many of your friends' Facebook and Instagram posts read "Gotta get bikini ready" or "I'm not ready for bathing suit season?" It's on everyone's minds and we have much better things to worry about people.

The fact of the matter is that MOST people feel vulnerable in a bathing suit. Think about it you are practically naked and I'm pretty sure the woman whose body modeled your final product may have had longer legs or is 15 years old.

Is it really worth allowing yourself to feel vulnerable and insecure over something that realistically isn't even created to showcase your body's strengths?  What in the world does how yo…

Interesting read about OCD & #EatingDisorders

Interesting read about OCD & #EatingDisorders