In Crisis Mode? Here are 5 Tips to Handle Holiday Weight

by Kirby Bumpus, MPH
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In Crisis Mode? Here are 5 Tips to Handle Holiday Weight

Did this headline strike a nerve?

If so, you are not alone. I’ve been there. Confession: I’m actually close to there now as I managed to put on a few pounds this fall — and it hasn’t all been muscle. This time of year is especially tough for hitting weight-loss goals (read: holiday parties, hot chocolate, sweet potato pie and love handle-hiding puffy coats). Studies have shown Americans gain the most weight between Halloween and New Year’s adding about 0.7% to their frame on average.

For an average man weighing 195.7 pounds, that equates to 1.4 pounds (which is actually lower than I expected). So if you’re already above your goal weight, be realistic with yourself: Instead of focusing on trying to lose weight during the holidays, focus on not gaining additional weight. If you wind up dropping a few pounds with this mindset, great! Consider it icing on the cake.

When it comes to weight loss, maintenance is a victory in itself as it can sometimes be harder than losing in the first place. Here are some tried-and-true weight-maintenance tips I use during the holiday season:

1. ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT CAUSED YOU TO GAIN THE WEIGHT

Knowledge is power and the best way to prevent repeating past mistakes is to reflect on where you may have gone offtrack. Did you fail to prioritize your workouts? Did you start eating dinner later? Have you been snacking more than usual? Did you stop logging your food?

The key here is not to beat yourself up but use this reflection as an opportunity to make better decisions going forward.  


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2. MAKE YOUR HOME AND WORK A SAFE SPACE

In most cases, you’re in control of the food in your home, so get rid of potential landmines in the kitchen! My former trainer, Errick, always says, “If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”  

So, if you know you have a propensity to snack on candy at night, keep it out of your kitchen. If you find yourself constantly raiding a coworker’s junk food jar (which was totally me at my last job!), then start bringing in healthy snacks to keep at your desk or in the communal snack area. I️ started bringing in clementines, Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix and dried seaweed. Bonus: Healthy habits are contagious, so your coworkers will probably appreciate it, too! Plus, if you have healthy food at home you can start meal prepping and bringing lunch to work or school, making it much easier to log your meals and stay on track.

3. GET MOVING (EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS)

It’s sounds super basic, but whenever you have the opportunity to add activity to your day, take it. Take the stairs, set up a walking meeting, go to the coffee shop that’s a couple blocks further and walk around the building (in the hallways or hit the streets) instead of spending 10 minutes on Instagram or Facebook at your desk. Schedule workouts on your calendar so they don’t fall by the wayside. The holidays are NOT the time to stop exercising altogether.

4. MULTI-TASK

Next time you are watchingThis Is Us(Beth and Randall are #CoupleGoals) or any TV show, do some pushups or crunches. The workout will go by faster because you’ll be distracted and it will also prevent you from wanting to snack.


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5. GO INTO HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES WITH A GAME PLAN

Be proactive in prepping for holiday festivities by scheduling a morning workout, hydrating throughout the day and eating filling, high-fiber foods during the day so you don’t do a face-dive into the holiday spread when you arrive.

Something I always do is grab a healthy snack before I head to a party. (Did you know a single apple has 5 grams of fiber?) I’ve even been known to Uber to a party while eating an apple in the backseat because I️ knew there’d be temptations like pizza and chocolate cake. Being proactive with a game plan can help keep you in control.


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And remember, the holidays should be fun! They often come with travel, food and family, so don’t forget to enjoy this time … but they can be a tough time to focus on losing weight, so if you find yourself starting at a disadvantage, shift your focus to maintenance mode, which sets you up for less frustration and more success.

How do you stay on track (or get back on track) during the holiday season?


Better Than Ever

We all strive for wellness and to live better! Every month, this column will bring you advice on how to feel and perform Better Than Ever. Check out tips to improve various aspects of your health: from fitness, nutrition, sleep and recovery to everything in between. Have a topic you want to hear about? Feel free to reach out here (I’ll be checking the comments!) or on Twitter or Instagram. I look forward to hearing from you.


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