Tips to Keep the Weight Off Over the Holidays
The holidays are often a time of good cheer, but they can also be full of pitfalls that can lead to unhealthy weight gain. All the big holiday feasts, surrounded by extra holiday treats, can lead to significant weight gain, which is linked to heart health problems. Your risk of clogged arteries, high blood pressure, heart failure, and more go up with your weight.
Fortunately, there are many good strategies you can use to help keep the weight off this holiday season.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to keep the weight off and help you keep your heart healthy is to stay active. We know that it’s hard to stay physically active in the winter, especially with closures and occupancy restrictions among gyms and other spaces where you might exercise.
But do what you can. In Denver, we have many warm, sunny days throughout the winter, so you can get out and stay active. On cold days, break out the old exercise equipment or do exercises that don’t need any equipment. If you’re an outdoorsy person, you can bundle up and get outside. Hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and jogging are great ways to get outdoor exercise around the holiday season.
Get Good Sleep
Getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining a healthy weight. Not sleeping enough can increase your appetite. It can also make you more reliant on caffeinated beverages, which can derail your weight control plans (more on this later). Being short on sleep can also affect how your body uses calories you eat and can make it store more calories as fat.
Try to maintain your regular sleep schedule during the holidays. Also, practice good sleep hygiene to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. This means avoiding alcohol and caffeine too close to bedtime. Again, turn off holiday lights before going to bed. Putting the lights on a timer can help if you have trouble remembering.
Use Protein and Fiber to Manage Hunger
Take advantage of your body’s natural mechanisms to control your hunger and help you avoid overeating. At each meal, make sure you’re eating enough protein and fiber. These can both help you stay full longer, so you don’t need to snack as often, and you can go longer between meals.
Even if you’re eating filling meals, there is going to be a temptation to snack. It’s not about being hungry; it’s about there being so many delicious snacking options around that you want to sample them all. Still, it would help if you didn’t let yourself go crazy trying all the goodies.
Nor should you try to avoid snacking altogether. Doing this can increase your desire for snacks and make you eat more overall. Instead, please give yourself a snacking budget and stick to it, eating the most tempting treats and avoiding those that aren’t worth the exchange.
Share the Bounty
Many of us will be avoiding holiday gatherings this year to help stop the spread of coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to eat the entire batch of your favorite holiday cookies. Instead, make some packets of food to give away to friends and family. They will enjoy the treat and be thankful to you—plus you’ll eat fewer sweets.
Count Liquid Calories
Beverages are a significant contributor to holiday calorie consumption that often gets overlooked. Alcohol is one of the most significant factors, as many people feel free to drink more alcohol in the holiday season. However, drinks like egg nog and apple cider are full of calories, even without alcohol. And don’t forget the calories in your caffeinated beverages. Sodas and special holiday drinks from coffee shops are packed with sugar.
Treat drinks as snacks and be aware of how many calories they represent. If you can’t fit a drink into your snack budget, don’t drink it. Switch to water to help you stay full and avoid dehydration.
Concerned about Heart Health in Denver?
If you are concerned that weight gain, lack of exercise, or other factors lead to a decline in your heart health, South Denver Cardiology Associates can help. Our nutritional consulting services can give you a roadmap to navigate the excesses of holiday consumption. We also offer many options for diagnostic testing that can help you assess your heart’s health and establish a plan to ensure optimal long-term health.
Please call 304-744-1065 today or contact us online set up your appointment at South Denver Cardiology Associates.
As with any health concerns, your specific treatment program should be discussed thoroughly with your primary care physician as well as any specialists who may need to be consulted – like a cardiologist.Sign Up