Gaining extra weight during the holidays may be a concern for many. The holidays are a time to relax, celebrate, and often over indulge in calorie-rich foods and drinks. The fact is between Thanksgiving and New Years the average American will gain approximately one pound. (1) One pound may not seem like a lot, but most people do not burn off the extra baggage. The holiday season can ultimately attribute to your overall weight gain for the year.
Holiday weight gain does not have to be inevitable, here are Biowarrior’s top 3 tips to avoiding holiday weight gain.
During the holidays, unhealthy snacks are abundantly displayed, and it may seem there is no escape from being offered freshly baked cookies, home-made pies, or other tasty treats. When these snacks are easily accessed you are more likely to indulge unnecessarily.
Practice mindful snacking and moderation. Listen to your body and determine if you really need to eat that extra cookie or slice of pie. If you find yourself munching on food just because it is displayed and not because you are actually hungry, you may want to move away from the snacking food table.
If you truly are hungry, opt for fresh whole foods. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate can be filling and satisfy cravings. Make sure these snacks do not contain added sugar or unhealthy fats such as butter, margarine, shortening, fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, deep fried meats), baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries), or processed snack foods (crackers, chips, popcorn).
Get Plenty of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep during the holidays is quite common and sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. Those who do not get enough sleep are believed to cause metabolic dysregulation through myriad pathways involving hormonal imbalance and inflammation. (2) Cortisol (the stress hormone) is the lowest at night so that the body can rest and repair itself, because of this it is important to stick to a strict sleep schedule. Excessive stress drains the body of magnesium. It's important to prevent this from happening as magnesium helps to balance cortisol levels by improving blood sugar, promoting relaxation, improving sleep and your ability to adapt to stress. (3) In short, those who are sleep deprived are hungrier throughout the day, eat more calories, feel more stressed, and exercise less. (4)
An easy tool to help your body prepare for deep restorative sleep is a combination of both GABA and l-theanine. Studies show that together these two amino acids help a person to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and achieve REM. (5) Mellow Mood contains both of these ingredients as well as the patented form of magnesium (di-magnesium malate), shown to be more absorbable than any other form of magnesium, to help you get a deeper, more restorative sleep. Prioritizing sleep can be the ticket to avoiding extra weight gain during the holidays by lowering cortisol levels, which has been linked to excess belly fat. (6)
The holidays can be particularly overwhelming and stressful. People who feel stressed have high levels of cortisol. Excessive cortisol levels are linked to weight gain. (7) The impact of stress on the thyroid occurs by slowing your body’s metabolism and lowering thyroid hormone production. Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis and enzymatic activity, and are critical determinants of metabolic activity. (8)
Thyroid Warrior-electromagnetic nascent iodine may help reduce cortisol levels, balance thyroid hormones, support metabolism, and help manage psychological and emotional stress. (9) Iodine is not only known to help regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol but also contribute to normal immune function. (10) There are plenty of stress-reducing techniques that may help lower stress such as exercise, deep breathing, and yoga, but nothing beats nourishing the body with much needed nutrients from mother earth in high quality pure concentrations.
When adding food to your plate this season be sure to get plenty of fiber and protein. Fiber is a powerful nutrient that helps you feel full longer while aiding in digestion. Fiber rich foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. (11) Th majority of holiday dishes are high in calories, but low in protein. Protein is important because it increases your metabolism while reducing appetite-inducing hormones. (12) Clean sources of protein include grass-fed meats, free-range poultry, wild caught fish, and some plant sources such as alfalfa sprouts, spinach, hemp seed, beans and quinoa.
Modify Your Recipes
There are many ways to modify traditional high-calorie foods and drinks to be healthier. Some of our favorite substitutes include:
When baking replace butter with a mashed banana
Instead of sugar use stevia
Add unsweetened dried fruits to the dessert bar instead of chocolate chips or candy
When cooking, try baking or grilling instead of frying
Drink club soda or sparkling water instead of soda’s or juices
Instead of baking with wheat flour try almond or coconut flour as a substitute
While staying diligent with your weight loss goals during the holidays may seem daunting, there are tips and tricks to keep you happy and healthy during the season. Be sure to get plenty of exercise, limit holidays sweets, get plenty of sleep, and keep stress at bay by taking extra time for yourself. If you stay conscientious, you may even lose weight during the festive season.