What do the winter holidays mean for you? Joy and celebration? Indulgence and comfort? Family gatherings and home cooking? For some, the holiday season tests their self-control and delivers temptation at every turn. Many people overeat, drink excessively and spend more than their budget allows, all in the name of celebration. It adds up. Americans gain an average of 1.3 lbs over the winter holidays and many don’t lose the extra weight before the next holiday. One pound isn’t a lot, but a few extra pounds can be hard to lose. To stay on track and avoid temptation, follow the CDC’s tips on healthy holiday eating.
Is Holiday “Hygge” Hugging Your Hips?If the holidays have caught up to your waistline, January might mean resolutions and restrictions. But don’t think the New Year has to be all about “no pain, no gain.” A slight change of perspective can help get you back on track. Read on to find out how you can keep the celebration going into the new year to help you meet your goals.
What Doesn’t WorkExperts agree that trying to change everything at once doesn’t work. For example, a plan to cut out all “bad” foods, stop smoking and start going to the gym every day is likely to fail. It’s too much and too extreme. Likewise, a plan to “get in shape” or to “eat healthy” is too vague to succeed long term. For lasting change, take small, specific steps toward new habits and a healthier lifestyle.
How to Plan for SuccessEating too much is easy; battling pound creep takes a focused effort and some clear, SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Before you start, review the basics of a healthy diet, how much you should eat and how much exercise you need. The USDA’s Choose MyPlate website has lots of information about dietary and fitness needs. In general, you should:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods.
- Balance your calorie intake with your physical activities.
- Engage in moderate or vigorous physical activity at least three days per week.