The holidays can be a time of what seems like endless food temptations.
Travel schedules can throw you off and so can your aunt’s famous brownies, sweet potatoes or whatever it is she’s an expert at making.
So, we’re here to help you with tips for avoiding holiday weight gain to keep your heart healthy. Even a single bad meal can do its damage without the right steps to keep eating too much in check.
We’ve listed 5 tips to help you avoid the holiday weight gain to keep your heart healthy.
1. Make Eating Goals for Each Gathering
Starting with Halloween, there are plenty of get-togethers and parties that can derail your fitness goals, wreck your diet and put your heart at risk. When Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas roll around, be sure to make goals for how much you should or shouldn’t partake of sweets and other unhealthy foods.
Making specific goals instead of saying, “Well, it’s a party so I can eat a couple cookies” (because it usually doesn’t end there) will help you to more mentally keep track of what you have eaten.
Added sugar and excess calories can increase weight gain and the risk for high blood pressure and diabetes. Choose to eat more of the healthy items available and then smaller amounts of the sweets and sodium-packed food. Not the other way around.
2. Buddy System
Holiday parties are rarely attended alone. That means you can grab a friend or family member to make a goal to eat only a certain amount of goodies.
Having a buddy system to help keep each other stay accountable and on track with your goals makes it easier to succeed and not run loose at the dessert table. When you partner up, you’re less likely to cheat on your own goals because someone else will be there to help you.
3. Dress for Exercise Success in Winter
If you’re trying to avoid holiday weight gain to keep your heart healthy, make sure exercise is on your schedule, and that means getting outside for most people. One of the most common excuses people make to avoid exercise during the holidays is the cold weather.
Dressing in layers can help you feel just as comfortable to go outside as when it’s a warm spring day. Yes, it may be chilly to begin, but your body will warm up and you’ll forget about the cold.
Making sure you exercise during the winter months can help to offset any extra eating you may do, as well as keeping your heart strong and blood pressure down. Exercise is always vital if you’re trying to maintain your weight and keep your heart as healthy as possible, and it even more important if you’re consuming higher amounts of calories than you’re used to consuming.
4. Get Your Vitamins
Winter means shorter days without as much sunshine for most people, which means we don’t get enough vitamin d. Additionally, all those delicious fruits and berries are harder to come by, which means we’re not getting antioxidants and vitamin c like spring and summer months.
Taking vitamin supplements can help you replenish any vitamins you may be deficient in during the holidays. This will help your body keep going with a better immune system and help your heart working well.
The best way to get vitamins is naturally through fruits and vegetables. Your body will also appreciate the nutritious value of them. However, if frozen fruits aren’t your thing, vitamin supplements can make do.
5. Watch How Much You Drink
Holidays for many families and friends include wine and other alcoholic beverages. While a little wine has actually been shown to support your heart’s health, too much is detrimental.
Excessive alcohol can accelerate your heart rate and increase your blood pressure. Additionally, many alcoholic drinks are high in calories and sugars, which are also harmful to your waistline and your heart.
If you decide to drink, keep it to a minimum just as you would when it comes to sugar and sodium. Your heart and your cousin you always embarrass will thank you.