10 tips to stay healthy this holiday season

Most people expect to gain some weight during the holidays. It’s commonly accepted that people expect to gain an average of five or more pounds between Halloween and New Year’s Day. In reality, the average weight gain during this period is just under one pound, but it’s still enough to cause anxiety and discouragement for anyone on a weight loss journey during the holidays.

We sat down with Allison Steele, DO, a family medicine physician at HonorHealth, to discuss ways you can enjoy the holidays while staying healthy. Check out these tips – and remember, you can be successful by planning ahead.

10 tips to stay healthy this holiday season

1. Set achievable goals.

“Focus on maintaining rather than losing weight,” said Dr. Steele. “If weight loss does not feel attainable, setting more realistic goals can help maintain motivation and keep you on the right track past the holiday season.”

2. Plan ahead.

This includes bringing your own food or dish to gatherings, surveying the food table when you arrive to plan meals and scheduling exercise.

Tips to enjoy the holidays during your weight loss journey  - HonorHealth Bariatrics

3. Don’t skip meals or bank calories.

“Skipping meals prior to your gathering in order to eat more can actually backfire,” said Dr. Steele. “This can lead to frequent snacking and overindulging.”

4. Fill up on healthy vegetables and foods first.

While no food needs to be off limits, make it a goal to eat healthy foods first. This will help to minimize your intake of less nutritious foods.

5. Practice mindful eating.

Stop eating when you are almost full. Wait at least 20 minutes before eating more. If you’re going to have less nutritious foods, eat smaller portions. This will allow you to enjoy your food – and party – more.

6. Be careful with alcohol intake.

While alcohol should be avoided during your weight loss journey, if you are to have a drink, set a limit. Alcohol intake can lead to poor food choices and overeating. “When in doubt, substitute your alcoholic drink for a non-alcoholic one,” said Dr. Steele.

7. Stay hydrated.

Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. “You can infuse your water with seasonal fruits, like cinnamon and pear, cranberries and mint, or orange and pomegranate, to add a festive touch and help you drink more,” said Dr. Steele.

8. Get active.

Plan ahead and schedule your exercise. “You can even start new active traditions that don’t revolve around food,” said Dr. Steele. A few suggestions? “Hiking, holiday fun runs or walks, walking the luminaries at the Botanical Garden, ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo or even going for a walk around your neighborhood are great ways to exercise while also enjoying your loved ones.”

9. Remember the importance of sleep.

Lack of sleep can impact your metabolism and can lead to less impulse control (think less sleep = more cookies) so it’s important to make sure you get good, restful sleep during this busy time of the year.

10. Get back on track right away.

“Gaining weight, giving into impulses and cravings or less physical activity does not mean that your weight loss journey is over,” said Dr. Steele. Tomorrow is a new day to restart your usual eating and get back on track.

“You can be successful with your weight loss journey during the holiday season by planning ahead,” said Dr. Steele. “Shifting your focus from food to new traditions, family and loved ones can help bring joy back to the holidays.”

Need a little help along the way?

We get it. At HonorHealth’s Bariatric Center, our team of providers is here to support you with your weight loss goals. Together, we’ll walk through your options for medically supervised weight loss and bariatric surgery to help find the right solution just for you.

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