Mind. Body. Spirit.
Managing Your Stress & Minimizing Weight Gain During the Holidays
Blog By: Mind, Mouth and Movement: Connecting the Missing Links
By Nancy Lum, RDN and Dawn O’Meally LCSW-C, P.A.
We all know the holidays can be the happiest time of the year, but it is also very busy and can be stressful. Family’s getting together, lots of events and parties to attend, tasty foods are everywhere, and many temptations to indulge. If you have experienced a loss of a loved one during the holidays this can create added pressure and grief. The additional demands associated with the holidays can create emotional, financial and physical stress and anxiety for many people. Here are some tips to better navigate your holidays and manage your health.
To manage stress during the holiday season and prevent weight gain, you can follow these tips:
Make sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, nourishing yourself with healthy nutrient dense foods, staying hydrated, and moving your body more to increase your endorphins. This will help reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight.
Set Realistic Expectations
Have realistic expectations for yourself and ditch perfectionism. Most people are managing work and home responsibilities, and you can only do so much. Learn to say no, set boundaries and stick to your limits without feeling guilty. Set realistic goals and focus on enjoying the festivities rather than obsessing over your weight or appearance.
Practice Stress Management Techniques:
Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as practicing deep breathing exercises, aggressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or engaging in activities you enjoy. Make time for yourself, you have needs too. This will help prevent emotional eating and unnecessary weight gain.
Make sure you keep a realistic schedule. Set time on your schedule for festivities you want to attend, downtime for yourself, and whatever holiday related responsibilities you may have. It is important to be organized with your time to reduce the last-minute stress due to procrastination. There are so many fun activities available during the holidays. Pick the ones that you really want to do that are most meaningful to you.
Plan Your Spending
Spending money is a big part of the holidays and can create unwanted stress. Create a budget for gift giving and stick to it. Don’t go overboard and get yourself into debt. Look for the sales and special deals to reduce costs. Create a saving plan for next year. Pinterest has some fun savings challenges, or you could create your own. Saving a little money each month adds up and then you have the money you want to spend.
Plan Your Treat Foods
Make a conscious effort to eat nutrient dense foods most of the time. Allow yourself a treat food or meal once or twice a week and schedule when you will have those treats. Treats too often leads to weight gain. In order to reduce cravings, stay hydrated, eat every 3-4 hours, and maintain your protein intake needed daily.
Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, even during the busy holiday season. Take a walk after meals, participate in holiday-themed workouts or activities, and find ways to keep moving.
Reach out to friends, family, or a support group for encouragement and accountability. Having a support system can help you stay motivated and make healthier choices during the holidays.
Remember, the holiday season is about enjoying time with loved ones and celebrating, so don’t forget to prioritize your mental and physical well-being.