How many of you are planning to start some type of diet in the New Year? How many of you did that last year as well? I’m guessing most of you are raising your hand and most of you didn’t do too well after the energy of your New Year’s weight loss resolution fizzled out.
The 12 simple steps in this post are just what’s needed to put an end to holiday weight gain and start the weight loss process while the holiday parties and cookies are still in abundance.
These simple steps will allow you to enjoy the holidays while still taking great care of the amazing you God created.
Your health matters.
Your body was given to you by God so that He could do all sorts of great things in and through you.
- Are you ready to take control of your health despite it being two weeks till Christmas?
There’s never a good time to start. So now is always the best time.
Now is the time for Christian women to set themselves apart. To care for their bodies in ways that glorify God and in ways that cause you to glitter like gold in this world searching for answers.
Holiday Weight Gain
A recent survey found that 45% of Americans give up attempting to eat clean or following any form of diet during the holiday months. Almost half of Americans don’t care about their health or weight from October through December and this comes at a price.
Only 12% of Americans will survive the holidays without gaining weight and the remaining 88% will gain an average of 6 pounds.
Maybe you’re saying, “I don’t care…I’ll start my diet again in January”.
I wish I had good news for you, but another study measured peoples’ weight at three different points around the holidays. Weights were taken before the holidays, during the holidays, and again in March, following the holiday season and guess what…
Not only did the people gain weight during the holidays, they gained additional weight between January and March.
Maybe this was you last year and maybe you’re convinced this year is going to be different. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Let me assure you of something.
Maybe can’t accomplish anything unless you’re willing to put in the work.
You have to have steps in place that allow you to enjoy and survive the holidays and every other event that includes food.
Start putting these 12 simple steps in place and you’ll be well on your way to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
Don’t worry…you can still enjoy a cookie or a piece of fudge.
Because no food is off limits.
The 12 Simple Steps
1. Snack Smartly.
Tis the season for sugary snacks galore but this doesn’t have to mean you give in every time you see a cookie or unhealthy holiday treat.
Have a plan and be mindful of how much you snack and what you snack on.
It’s okay to allow yourself one holiday treat a day. ‘Cuz it won’t lead to weight gain unless you’re not paying attention to how much and what else you’re eating.
Most women who eat three meals a day, don’t need more than one small snack (if that) each day. The size of your meals and your activity level will determine how many snacks you actually need.
2. Make Fresh Veggies the Star.
Veggies get a bad rap and I blame that on the fact that most people don’t know how to prepare them. No worries…we’ll be writing about that in the new year.
Until then, make sure 50+% of your plate or bowl is full of non-starchy vegetables. Include veggies at breakfast, lunch, dinner and make them the star of any midday snack.
Vegetables are weight loss’ secret weapon and the key to surviving the holidays without gaining weight.
3. Don’t Drink Your Calories.
Smoothies and holiday drinks are both things I’m not a fan of. They have their place but when weight maintenance or loss is the goal, these two drinkable calorie sources can be a woman’s worst friend.
Smoothies are typically full of way more food than anyone would ever actually eat in one sitting. Because of the ingredients smoothies typically have and the way the body easily absorbs those ingredients, they can cause huge insulin surges after consuming.
Holiday drinks go down easily and are seldom thought of as a source of calories.
4. Drink Plenty of Water.
Water is your healthy weight & weight loss friend.
The first thing you should do when hunger pangs seem to be calling is drink a glass of water. If after a few minutes you’re still hungry, grab a snack or eat whatever meal is next.
Part of mindful eating is learning to recognize your body’s true hunger/fullness cues. Many times hunger pangs will appear because you’ve conditioned yourself to eat at certain times and not because your body actually needs more food.
Water fills your stomach cavity and helps you identify true hunger.
Bonus: drinking water might help ramp up your metabolism.
Half your weight in oz = your daily H20 goal
5. Keep Your Carbs Clean.
Whole foods, the food God made, are the most nutrient dense and fiberful foods around. That combo causes your body to
- absorb fewer calories,
- increases your metabolism, and
- leads to more nutrients being absorbed by your body.
Fiberful foods also help you feel full, help stabilize blood sugar, and the best part, they keep you regular and make your microbiome very very happy.
6. Move Your Body.
The holidays are full of family and friends so make a point of being active together. We’ve got lots of physical activity ideas here that’ll make moving your body easy peasy.
No matter what your schedule looks like there’s always a way to fit physical activity in. You need a minimum of 30 minutes per day and 7 of those minutes need to be difficult. Divide it into 6 five minute or 3 ten minute chunks or do it all at once.
Just move the beautiful body God gave you.
7. Eat Mindfully.
We’ve written about this before because it’s important.
Mindful eating is about:
- slowing down and paying attention to what you’re eating,
- being mindful of whether or not you’re actually hungry, and
- learning when you’re satisfied but not full.
Read what we wrote here and start making mindful eating your new way of eating.
8. Keep Portions in Proportion.
I believe in small plates, small bowls, and small utensils. Most American dishes and utensils are much too large.
In the 1950’s dinner plates were 9” across and they’ve steadily grown to 13” across.
Problem is, we haven’t gotten more active in the last seventy years. Instead we’ve gotten more inactive and are eating 4” more food.
You can fix this by shrinking the dishes you eat off of. Also consider using smaller utensils, or better yet chopsticks, to decrease the amount of food each bite contains.
9. Don’t Do it Alone.
Making healthy changes is always better when you do it with someone else. Plus, it’s more fun and provides built in accountability.
Even if your friend doesn’t need to lose weight or eat healthier, you can still ask her to help hold you accountable. Tell her your goals and the reasons you’re wanting to survive the holidays without gaining weight and ask her to check in on you once or twice a day.
10. Set Goals.
It’s never too late to set goals. Even though we’re nearing the end of the holiday season, you can still set goals that’ll help you survive the holidays without gaining more weight.
If you’ve already gained 4-6 pounds, the right goals can have you reversing that weight gain just as quickly as it came on.
Set goals around any or all of the things in this post and you’ll be on your way to surviving holiday eating.
Remember to set SMART goals though, so you’re actually setting achievable goals and not creating “wishes” or “ideas”.
11. Reward Yourself.
Everyone loves earning rewards and rewards earned for surviving the holidays without gaining weight, or making healthy food choices, are well deserved.
Think of something you’d really enjoy, maybe something that would be on sale after Christmas. Determine your goals and tell yourself you’ll get to do “x”, buy “y”, or go to “z” anytime after January 1st.
Then you can spend the rest of December anticipating that reward.
12. Stop Tasting.
No, I don’t want you to actually stop tasting your food. I just want you to stop taste-testing your food.
A spoon of this, finger swipe of that, and a pinch of the other all adds up.
Remember, everything you taste contains calories.
Just because the food’s not on a plate and not actually a meal or snack doesn’t mean your body considers it calorie free (wouldn’t that be nice).
So, taste the smallest amount, as infrequently as possible while you’re cooking.
There you go. 12 simple steps that’ll keep you from gaining holiday weight while also helping you lose any weight you’ve already gained.
You’ve likely heard many of these simple steps before and…that’s because they work.
There’s an old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and when it comes to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, it’s typically simple steps like these that work time and time again.
Magic bullets, quick fixes, and diets never work (more on that in the new year as well). That’s because you’ve got a life to live and your food has to fit into your lifestyle.
That’s what makes these 12 simple steps so powerful.
They can fit into anyone’s lifestyle, from the crazy busy to the laid back and retired.
If your health truly matters, and your life depended on it, you’d start immediately.
Don’t let poor health or a life threatening diagnosis be the catalyst required to make stewarding your body well a priority.
Next year we’re going to bring you everything you need to be spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. Sign up for our weekly emails or our “Discover Where Your Time Goes” guide and you’ll get our brand new “Whole Health Starter Guide”.
We’ve got big things around the corner and don’t want you to miss out.
Until next time...
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20