The holiday season is officially underway, signaling the start of a period filled with shopping, decorating, celebrating, and of course, eating.
It’s estimated that people gain 1 to 5 pounds during the holiday season, with normal weight people gaining an average of 1 pound and overweight and obese individuals gaining about 5.
While gaining 1 pound over the holidays may not seem like a lot, it can have quite an impact. Research suggests most people never lose that extra pound, so they add up year after year. This annual holiday weight gain can contribute to health issues, such as heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.
Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are considered to be overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney. This means many Americans can expect to gain around 5 pounds if they don’t make healthy dietary choices and the necessary lifestyle changes.
I see so many overweight kids. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’re public, private, or homeschooled. They often learn bad habits and poor lifestyle choices from their parents. It becomes a losing battle the rest of their lives. The media and society doesn’t help. It’s cheaper, easier, and trendier to get that value meal at the McFastFood joint than to purchase and prepare a healthy meal.
Weight can be a symptom and cause of many other health problems – problems I want our family to avoid.
It’s my job as a parent to teach healthy habits to my kids – and that includes eating well and monitoring weight without stressing over numbers. I want to ensure a healthy body image in my kids with healthy lifestyle choices.
I was anorexic as a child and youth. I often refused to eat meals. I would only eat certain foods. I ate very tiny portions. My dad often made me sit at the table for hours, staring at my cold full plate, refusing to eat it. I was anxious about everything and had frequent migraines.
My eldest daughter is underweight and being monitored by her doctor. We celebrate every pound gained for her.
I realize our society is obsessed with weight. Fat shaming is considered normal, but it is bullying. People come in all different shapes and sizes.
For me, being a small framed person, I don’t feel well if I gain more than five pounds. My joints get sore, my digestion suffers, and I have trouble sleeping.
My military husband is larger framed and by Air Force weight standards, he would be ill if he achieved 100% on their charts. The military weight and exercise goals aren’t right for everyone.
We eat meals as a family. I usually eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the table with my children. We have a family dinner every night. We seldom snack and we try to keep it healthy and balanced when we do. Soda and candy and junk food are rare treats.
We try to get outside every day, no matter the weather. It helps to set our internal clocks for eating and sleeping well. And walking or playing in nature is fun and healthy.
It’s more than counting calories. It’s more than the number on the scale or the measurement of a waist.
It’s about our health!
It’s about balance. It’s about moderation.
Tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Eat only when hungry.
It should be simple to do, right?
We should only eat when we’re hungry.
But often, our body clocks are off. We aren’t hungry at designated meal times. We were taught to clean our plates. We eat when we’re stressed and when we’re celebrating.
This might be very difficult to do if food is associated with activities.
If you feel the need to eat when the TV is on, try substituting that urge with something else.
If you’re not hungry at meal time, change the schedule or sit with the family and sip water and converse.
If you’re offered food at an event or celebration, politely decline. You’re not obligated to nibble. It’s ok to say, “No thanks.”
Drink lots of water.
Many of us think we’re hungry when we’re really just very dehydrated and we don’t recognize that feeling. Try drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Add some lemon or ginger or ACV for more detox.
Try drinking a glass of water before meals to curb your appetite and therefore eat a bit less.
Drink a glass of water before retiring at night and you might sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed – and hydrated.
Colorful food is healthy food.
And I don’t mean Skittles candy. (Why did they replace lime with green apple?)
Eating colorful fruits and vegetables is healthier than the whitish carbs and animal products most Americans prefer.
Start with salads.
Limit grain intake.
Learn to make different veggies – steamed, raw, roasted – and have meat as a side dish.
Eat correct portion sizes.
Start using a smaller plate.
Having a lunch-size plate instead of a big dinner plate helps to keep portions in check.
Ask for to-go containers when your restaurant order comes and separate it right then to curb temptation. Most restaurant portions are way bigger than a single serving.
I love this easy chart from HealthyEating.org that uses our hands to help us judge portions!
Supplements and essential oils.
Please don’t succumb to chemical diet pills or drinks. These are not healthy and will trick your body.
Avoid replacement sugars and additives in your food that trigger addiction and excess body fat.
Supplement with whole foods like cod liver oil and multigreens in smoothies.
I’ve done really well with drinking lemon or ACV water in the mornings and waiting to eat a light vegetarian meal for brunch/lunch or sipping on a smoothie all day while waiting until dinner.
I occasionally do a smoothie cleanse like this 3-day cleansing diet.
Also, eating vegetarian or vegan before 6 PM has been very helpful to eliminate toxins, water weight, and fat gain.
All the diet advice in the world won’t work if I’m sedentary. Sitting at a computer all day isn’t going to help me lose my middle.
I walk 3 miles twice a week and at least 1 mile 2-3 times a week.
I often do yoga. Stretching is great for stress relief.
I play outside with my kids – soccer, baseball, frisbee, scoops, water balloons, hiking. We like dance parties indoors.
Get Out from Under Weighty Emotions for Healthier Eating
“The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to understand the role unresolved emotions from past events play in your health,” veteran holistic physician, Dr. Bradley Nelson, says.
If you use food as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, here are 5 steps you can take to overcome emotional eating:
- Find Your Triggers: Spend some time thinking about events in your past that make you sad or anxious. “Realize what is going on in your own mind that is triggering you to want to do the emotional eating. That is half the battle.”
- Journal Foods & Feelings: Write down not only what you are eating but also what you are thinking and feeling at the time. What was the underlying emotion that prompted you to eat that entire bowl of chips or carton of ice cream? Understanding the relationship is key to breaking bad habits.
- Develop a Strategy: Create a plan for how you will respond the next time you are tempted to overeat. One simple method Dr. Nelson suggests: Wear a rubber band around your wrist and when you feel the urge to eat what you know you shouldn’t, snap it against your wrist to help you “snap out of” the underlying emotion that’s driving you to eat.
- Exercise Daily: Too busy to work out? No excuses! “Find a way to work exercise into your daily chores. Challenge yourself to get the whole house cleaned in half the normal time, and you’ll work up a sweat with all the scrubbing and running from room to room.”
- Talk More, Eat Less! Here’s a neat little trick Dr. Nelson recommends: When you go out to eat with friends, come prepared with stories to tell so you talk more. As a result, you’ll inevitably eat more slowly. Eat your salad first so you fill up on live food instead of the sugary and fattening stuff. Remember your body’s needs and respect them.
Download a FREE copy of the eBook and the audiobook by visiting www.EmotionCodeGift.
What do you do when you want that sugary dessert or feel an almost uncontrollable urge to snack or just crave something sweet or salty?
- Have just a taste. Don’t have that humongous slice of cheesecake. Just take a tiny slice or just a bite or two. Share with someone else!
- Eat something healthier but satisfying – like a crunchy apple or carrot sticks with hummus.
- Green tea. Even with a drop of honey!
- Water with citrus or mint.
- Brush your teeth with yummy natural toothpaste.
- 1 teeny tiny drop of peppermint or spearmint essential oil under your tongue.
- Sugar-free (xylitol, not aspartame!) gum or hard candy.
- Do something with your hands – crochet or knit, play solitaire, draw.
- Take a walk or exercise, especially outdoors.
- Do something distracting like reading or listening to music or watching birds.