22 Essential Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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Many people experience weight gain during the holidays. With the return of colder weather, comfy sweaters and family gatherings it’s easy to pack on a few pounds. Please tell me I’m not alone here.

But you can still enjoy the holidays and avoid holiday weight gain by following these essential tips.

22 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1. Eat a protein-rich snack before you go out.

If you arrive at a holiday party famished you’re likely to overeat. Avoid mindless snacking by choosing a healthy snack, such as the one of the following:

  • Greek yogurt and berries
  • a handful of healthy fat-rich nuts, such as almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts
  • an apple with peanut butter, or other nut butter
  • a protein shake, like My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • string cheese
  • jerky
  • hummus and veggies

For more healthy snack options, check out Top 20 Best Healthy Snacks.

2. Stay active.

Many families enjoy sitting around and watching parades, Christmas music specials or ballgames during the holidays.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with these traditions, all this inactivity can lead to weight gain. This is especially true if we’re also eating too much rich food (1)

Rather than lounging around all day, consider:

  • taking a family walk, either outside or inside a mall
  • going ice skating
  • building a snowman with your kids
  • going sledding

These activities will burn calories and keep you fit while giving you the opportunity to bond with loved ones.

3. Pay attention to portion sizes

With all the delicious foods prepared during the holidays, it can be tempting to overeat. But, people who eat larger portion sizes tend to gain weight more than those who don’t (2). Makes sense, right?

Read food labels to discern correct portion sizes. Use measuring cups and spoons to measure your food.

4. Get adequate sleep.

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain and a slowed metabolism (3, 4)? When we don’t sleep enough we tend to eat more and exercise less. Our hunger hormone levels increase and this raises calorie intake.

Read 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight for helpful sleeping advice.

5. Don’t hang out near the food at a party.

If you linger by the delicious dishes and desserts, the temptation to indulge is greater. But if you step away from the food and focus more on talking to people you’ll save calories, and you just might have more fun.

This tip reminds me of the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind”. The same thought applies to your pantry at home. Throw out the junk food so it’s not there tempting you to eat it.

6. Keep stress under control.

The holidays are stressful sometimes. There are people to see, presents to buy and wrap and recipes to make. But it’s important to keep our stress levels under control.

When we are chronically stressed, our levels of cortisone go up. This can cause us to eat more and gain weight (5).

Focus on activities that reduce stress, such as exercise and deep breathing techniques. And for more about reducing stress read 5 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax.

Also, I found a great app that helps you focus on reducing stress. It’s called Calm.

avoid holiday weight gain
Sharing healthy foods at holiday gatherings is fun!

7.  Prepare a healthy dish to share.

Bringing a healthy dish to holiday gatherings can give you something healthy to eat even if everything else is rich or sugar-laden. This can help you keep your healthy eating goals in check.

It also gives others the opportunity to try a delicious and healthful recipe!

8. Use a smaller plate.

Using large plates often leads us to consume more calories. If not kept in check, this can lead to weight gain (6). Using a small plate helps you control portion sizes and reduce overeating.

9. Avoid processed food.

This includes most foods in packages, boxes or bags. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients. And most have added unhealthy fats, sugar and preservatives.

10. Keep a food diary.

Write down everything you eat or use an app to help you.

If you’re like me, I often underestimate how much I eat in a day.  Keeping a food diary helps me stay on track with my goals and be more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth.

My favorite tracking app is MyFitnessPal. You may want to try it.

11. Weigh yourself weekly.

Okay, so there are conflicting viewpoints when it comes to weighing yourself. Some people weigh a few times a week. Some never.

It’s good to keep in mind that weight fluctuations are normal day-to-day. But, many people find it helps them stay accountable and makes them more aware of their progress if they weigh weekly (7).

12. Watch your beverage and alcohol intake.

Soda, juice, alcohol and other beverages are full of empty calories and sugar. These factors contribute to weight gain (8).

The best thing to drink? You guessed it….water! (See number 16.)

13. Take smaller bites and chew your food thoroughly.

Eliminate distractions, such as electronics, and eat mindfully, savoring each delicious bite (9).

14. Keep a consistent workout routine.

Stick to your regular fitness routine as much as possible. Consistent training produces better results. Are you lacking motivation? Reading 3 Ways To Get Motivated And Stay Motivated To Work Out can help.

And that leads me to tip, #15.

15. Stay positive even if you get off track.

Don’t beat yourself up or stress about it. Simply restart your commitment a healthy life and get back on track. Simply focus on your health and fitness goals and keep moving forward with your plan.

It might help to use Motivational Quotes And Power Phrases.

avoid holiday weight gain
Lemon water is refreshing and healthy.

16. Drink a glass of water before meals and snacks.

Sometimes we think we’re hungry when our body simply needs water. Drinking water fills us up and helps prevent overeating (10).

Read 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water to learn more.

17. Leave a few bites of food on your plate.

Are you a member of the “clean plate club”? It’s okay to admit it, I used to think I had to clean my plate too.

Try leaving a few bites of food on your plate. You probably won’t even miss them and the calories you’ve saved add up and can help prevent weight gain.

18. Eat loads of veggies.

Filling up with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits can help prevent obesity (11). They’re filled with vital nutrients and vitamins as well as healthy fiber.

19. Lift weights.

Building muscle is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.

A great way to build muscle is by doing a kettlebell workout. You can check out 20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout to learn more.

20. Fill up on fiber.

Eating more fiber fills you up faster which can prevent you from eating as much and gaining weight (12).

Fiber-rich foods include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • legumes
  • whole grains.

21. Buddy up.

Find a friend who has similar health goals and give each other accountability. Having someone to work out or swap health recipes with can help you stay on track.

22. Avoid sugar and simple carbs.

Eating too much sugar is a common cause of weight gain and obesity (13).

When you come face to face with the desserts this holiday season, focus on selecting only your favorites and leaving the rest. This will save you from sugar overload and help keep your blood sugar in a manageable range.

For more on the dangers of sugar check out 20 Reasons Why Refined Sugar Is Bad For Your Health.

avoid holiday weight gain
22 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (INFOGRAPHIC)

What are ways you try to stay healthy during the holidays?

Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!


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How To Break Through Your Weight Loss Wall

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If there’s one thing that just about everyone has to deal with when they’re trying to lose any weight at all it is that, at some point or another, you’re likely going to hit the wall. This could take any number of forms. You could find that your progress slows for some reason, or it could simply be that you lose a lot of the motivation and momentum that kept you going at the beginning.

That being said, the wall is not impenetrable. There are almost always ways in which you can break through it. Which ones work for you will depend on a lot of different factors, but here are three simple options that you might want to try.

How To Break Through Your Weight Loss Wall

1. Detox

Detoxing is one of the best ways to get through that initial barrier when you first start trying to lose some weight. A lot of the weight that you’re carrying tends to include water weight, and detox teas can be incredibly useful for helping you drop that weight while also getting rid of toxins in your system.

There are plenty of different detox teas on the market, but this Fit Tea review might give you a good sense of how effective they can be. If you recognize the brand, you may recognize it from a celebrity page on Instagram .

2. Focus on density

There are few things more frustrating than feeling like you’re constantly going hungry and you’re still not seeing any real results. This is one of the most common reasons why a lot of people end up giving up on losing weight entirely.

However, this often comes down to one major error. You can’t just cut your portion sizes and expect the weight to fall off of you.

The reality is that foods like fresh fruit and vegetables contain a lot more water, which means that you can eat a lot more of them and become full while consuming far fewer calories than if you were eating highly processed foods, or foods high in salt or sugar.

3. Get help from a friend

Sometimes the diet wall doesn’t appear all at once but rather sneaks up on you. You start out by taking a day off, then over time, you take more and more. And eventually you’ve given up entirely. By having someone else around who can give you support, they can help stop you from falling into those kinds of bad habits and keep you honest. It’s easy to convince yourself not to bother; it’s much harder to justify it to someone else.

Of course, it’s important to remember that just because you’ve broken through the wall doesn’t mean that you aren’t necessarily going to come up against another one. Losing weight is a long and often difficult process, and you need to be willing to put in the right amount of work to get the results that you really want. But if you can stick to it and not let any obstacles get in your way, it’s going to be worth it the end. You are worth it!


What tips can you add to this list? 

Share your thoughts below. I love to hear your perspective!


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A Complete Guide To Setting Achievable Weight Loss Goals

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As with everything in life, setting goals for your weight loss is an incredibly important part of achieving your ultimate aims. The trouble is, many people often dive into weight loss without proper planning, and creating realistic – and achievable – actions they can actually meet. Without this kind of plan, there is little chance of fulfilling your targets, and the chances are that you will fall off the wagon at some point, without making much progress at all.

So, while there are a million and one guides and posts on losing weight, today we’re going to touch on something that is, perhaps, even more important: setting achievable weight loss goals. This guide will go through everything you need in your armory to plan ahead, set the right kind of targets, and get your new weight loss regimen off to the best possible start.

setting achievable weight loss goals

 

Setting Achievable Weight Loss Goals 101

The Basics

OK, so let’s start with the best way to set goals. The first thing to understand is that it is vital to be realistic about what you are trying to do. For example, rapid weight loss of anything more than 2 pounds a week is recognized by many medical professionals as unsafe – so the most you should try to lose is about 2 pounds per week. For example, if you want to shift 25 lbs of weight, your ultimate aim should take you just more than a year – that’s a very realistic goal and highly achievable.

It’s also important to be incredibly specific about what you are going to do. As an example, a lot of people start out by saying they will exercise three times a week. But what, exactly, does that entail? You are far better off going into detail, such as walking briskly for a half hour on a Monday, jogging for an hour on Wednesday, and attending a circuits class on Friday. Not only does this mean you don’t have to plan your activities on a weekly basis, but you can also make sure you have dedicated time slots which you can fit into your day and stick to.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of tracking your calories. While there is more to losing weight than just ‘calories in < calories burned,’ it’s an excellent place to start. And instead of just saying ‘I’ll cut down on eating,’ again, it’s vital to be specific. Work out your recommended calorie intake according to your BMI, and get yourself a calorie counter app – there are plenty of free ones you can find in your app store of choice.

Stop Talking About Weight Loss!

The next point is a hugely important one: stop talking about your weight loss goals! Losing weight is one thing, and it’s great – but it’s actually a short-term concept. Once you hit your ideal figure, how do you intend to keep those extra pounds from coming back? The truth is that successful weight loss isn’t about shifting pounds at all – it’s just a benefit of making better lifestyle choices, and, in fact, forming different life goals.

If it isn’t feasible to continue your plan after you hit your targets, the chances are you will put all that weight back on. All those bad habits you used to have will come back to haunt you, and without making those all-important changes, it’s likely you will return to your former figure, attitude, and sedentary lifestyle that got you into trouble in the first place.

So, when you set your targets, always think about the long-term changes you are making. What is more realistic? Is it living on cabbage soup for the rest of your life, or are you more likely to succeed by being mindful of what you eat, and allowing yourself the occasional treat?

 

setting achievable weight loss goals

Learn The Ropes

Another big reason people fail to meet their weight loss goals comes down to a lack of information. While it might seem obvious to say, unless you know what you are doing, success can be tough to achieve – and that goes for weight loss as well as anything else in your life. And unless you are willing to put in the effort – mentally as well as physically – it’s unlikely you will get near hitting your targets and changing your lifestyle for the better.

The good news is you can learn a lot online for absolutely nothing. Blogs like this one host a wealth of information that you can use to increase your knowledge about health and fitness, and will also teach you about some of the problems you may encounter on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Having the tools you need can help you be successful.

Also, even if you don’t have time to spend poring over every weight loss post from your favorite site, there is still plenty of help available. A personal trainer can teach you, and you can learn a lot from doctors, physios, and nutritional experts, too.

Ultimately, you need to learn the ropes to have a basic understanding of why you are doing specific workouts or eating particular foods. And once you realize what it is all for, your ultimate goals will be all the more achievable.

Breaking Things Down

The next step is to work on the ins and outs of your new weight loss plan. Let’s be clear here – weight loss is a big project, and approaching it from the perspective of ’you must lose x amount of pounds’ is likely to end in failure. Instead, you need to break that huge target into more achievable goals.

As with any other project in life or business, there will be milestones to plan, and risk factors to manage – and you need to make yourself aware of all of them.

To get started, try writing down what you want out of your lifestyle changes. Then it’s a case of breaking each of those goals into smaller chunks, including milestones, and a few ideas of how you might achieve them. It’s also vital that those milestones are pretty easy to accomplish in the early days. And as you progress, you can set yourself more challenging targets.

setting achievable weight loss goals

The Importance Of Motivation

No matter how supercharged and excited you are about embarking on a weight loss plan, there will likely be troubling times ahead. There will be days when your motivation deserts you, antipathy sets in, and you feel like giving up. It is essential that you understand where you can get help when the chips are down. You have two choices, here.

The first comes from within. Self-motivation is an integral part of breaking through your mental roadblocks, and a great way of keeping yourself on track is to remind yourself why you are doing this.

So, before you start your weight loss journey, get writing! Jot down all the reasons why you want to make changes. Write about how crucial it is to you – and your family. Be frank, too – outline how you are feeling, and all your pain points, fears, and self-consciousness about your current situation. And finally, don’t forget to write down your dreams – where do you want to be when all this is done? The journal you create here should give you as much ammunition as you need to defeat discouragement and self-doubt.

The second source of motivation can come from others. As you can see from ClubFitness.us and other fitness sites, reading other people’s stories can be a great way to motivate yourself. You’ll find that you are inspired by other people’s successes, especially those that started off in worse condition than you were ever in.

But it’s also vital that you get support from family and friends. Before you get started, tell them you need their help – whether it’s to look after the kids for an hour every other day, or just to come along with you for the occasional workout. You’ll be surprised at how effective the support of your loved ones can be – so try to involve them, if at all possible.

Match Your Regimen With Your Lifestyle

Not all exercises work for everyone. You might hate the gym, for example, or dislike a particular type of food. Perhaps you have an injury from your youth that prevents you from going jogging, or maybe you are allergic to one of the critical foods on a particular diet plan. Obviously, if your weight loss plan includes these activities, it’s unlikely you would succeed.

So, make sure you consider your current lifestyle when setting your goals. There are alternative exercises out there for anyone, whether it’s using home DVDs, joining a local sports club, or swimming instead of high-impact activities like jogging.

It’s the same thing with nutrition and dieting. If a recommended food is something you don’t like, find out why it’s important to eat and understand the vitamins and nutrients it gives you. Then it’s just a case of finding another source of those same nutrients, to make sure your body gets what it needs. As we discussed earlier, knowledge and research will be a powerful tool on your route to weight loss success, and this point underlines why.

And there you have it – following these guidelines should lead to a successful and achievable weight loss plan. Good luck on your journey!


What tips do you have for setting achievable weight loss goals? What works for you?

Share your thoughts below – I love hearing from you!


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18 Ways To Lose Weight Faster: Proven Weight Loss Tips

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Can you guess America’s number one New Year’s Resolution year after year? If you guessed losing weight you’re 100% correct!

So what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off?

Many believe the key to weight-loss is burning more calories than you eat. But many times it is not so simple. Sure, this works for some people, but often there are other factors to consider, including toxins, motivation, time, health, lifestyle, genetics, and thyroid problems.

Additionally, the quality and types of food we eat can affect whether our bodies tend to shed extra weight or hold on to those last 10 pounds.

I can relate to the weight loss ups and downs because I’ve experienced them at different seasons in my life.

After four pregnancies in six years time, with all the weight changes that come with pregnancy, plus breastfeeding all four babies, my body went through many transformations.

But being a full-time mama to four kiddos under the age of six didn’t leave time for anything outside of prepping and cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, reading to, cuddling and playing with the babies and caring for their needs 24/7.

And I would do it all over again because our children are precious to me and I cherish those times we spent together when they were little.

Being intentional about fitness and eating right was easier when we had our first two babies, but after that it became such a juggling act that most days I was happy to get a shower and brush my teeth. Maybe you can relate? And a good night’s sleep did not come until  later.

I would try to fit in the occasional walk or run and eat healthy as much as possible. But it was a challenge. Some days more than others.

But my story is just one of many examples of challenges we face in life that can make it harder to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight.

Sometimes we simply need tools to help us meet our goals. If you’re trying to lose weight and have plateaued or just need a boost along your weight loss journey here are some tips that can help accelerate your weight loss.

18 Ways To Lose Weight Faster:

1. Drink a glass of water before each meal.

Our bodies function more efficiently with plenty of purified water. Drinking water helps with the digestion process. The general recommendation is to drink 8 8-ounce glasses per day, or 2 liters, but depending on your size and activity level you might need a slightly different amount. Also, adding lemon to your water can give you some pretty amazing health benefits. To learn more about lemon water you may want to read: 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water.

2. Include protein with your meals and snacks.

Protein can help you lose weight naturally by reducing hunger pangs and boosting your metabolism.

3. Fill up on fiber-rich vegetables, fruits and other foods.

Eating plenty of fiber fills you and may cut your appetite. Examples of high-fiber foods include:

lose weight faster
Blackberries and other high-fiber foods fill you up and help keep hunger pangs away.
  • blackberries
  • flaxseeds
  • beans
  • avocados
  • almonds
  • figs
  • chia seeds
  • quinoa
  • artichoke
  • acorn squash

4. Get a good night’s sleep.

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can cause you to gain weight? Sleep deprivation disturbs your body’s balance of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate hunger and fullness.

If you have trouble winding down at night, try taking a hot bath or shower. How much sleep should you be getting? The average adult needs 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.

5. Only buy healthy whole food.

Stay away from pre-packaged foods that have a long list of ingredients. A long ingredient list usually indicates many artificial additives, preservatives and other harmful chemicals which can wreak havoc on our bodies.

You might also want to consider detoxing to help your system clear the toxins we’re all exposed to. Here are 15 Simple Strategies To Detox Naturally.

6. Find opportunities to move your body throughout the day.

Being sedentary is linked to all sorts of health conditions, including depression, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Plus, the more you move the more calories you burn. Some examples you may want to try are

  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • parking further away from your destination so you can log the extra steps
  • doing crunches (or other exercise) while you watch TV
  • using a standing desk at work instead of sitting in a chair all day

7. Fill up on healthy soups.

Here are some soup recipes you might like to try. They are quite satisfying and lower in calories than other options.

And if you want to go for the double whammy and detox while your filling up on delicious soup, you may enjoy my Delicious Detox Vegetable Soup.

8. Eat nuts.

Nuts are a great on-the-go snack and fill you up. The healthy fats in nuts keep you satiated. My personal favorite is pecans. They’re so rich and delicious! Other healthy options include walnuts, almonds and pistachios.

9. Drink whey protein.

It has many health benefits  and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Just make sure it is all-natural and does not contain harmful sweeteners, like Splenda or Aspartame.

This is our favorite whey protein powder.

10. Eat spicy foods.

They can fire up your metabolism, causing you to burn more calories.

Salsa, curry, peppers, horseradish and many Asian stir fry recipes contain plenty of heat to spice up your taste buds.

11. Chew your food well before swallowing.

We’ve all heard this before but it works, so it’s worth repeating. Chewing your food well takes more time which gives your brain time to process feeling full. This allows you to eat what you need but not more.

12. Eat your meals on a small salad plate instead of a typical dinner plate.

If you’re like most Americans, including myself, you tend to fill your plate with food. So if your plate is smaller, it makes sense that you’ll be eating less.

13. Keep a food diary.

Writing down everything you eat makes you more aware of your caloric intake, as well as whether you’re eating enough fiber, protein, and essential vitamins.

My favorite way to keep track of what I eat each day is myfitnesspal.com. I use the app on my phone. I also love that it syncs with my Fitbit so I don’t miss anything important.

14. Avoid white foods, such as white flour, white sugar, white bread and white rice.

They can dramatically alter your blood sugar and cause weight gain (which, of course, is the opposite of weight loss).

15. Drink green tea.

It has substances that cause fat cells to release fat, especially with exercise. How cool is that? Plus, green tea is so refreshing and delicious! I have a cup each afternoon.

Also, Kombucha is fermented green tea. I just learned how to make it and am loving this flavorful, probiotic-rich tea!

16. Include full-fat foods in your diet.

This includes grass-fed beef, nuts, coconut, eggs and avocados.

And don’t worry, studies have proven that (despite what we may have been told for years) eating saturated fat does not make us fat and does not cause heart disease (1).

In case you haven’t heard a low-fat, high-carb diet is bad for you and has been repeatedly proved ineffective (2, 3).

17. Drink coffee!

It speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories (4).

You may want to try Healthy Coffee Drink (With Coconut Oil).

18. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IM) is a simple strategy to boost your weight loss and health incrementally. I love IM! You can learn more about it here: The Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting

The Takeaway

Due to a variety of factors, sometimes losing weight isn’t always as simple as calories in, calories out. 

But, as you can see from this list there are many steps you can take to boost your weight loss. Having the right tools in your toolbox can help you meet your health and weight loss goals successfully.

I hope this list of weight loss boosters helps you meet your goals and become the healthiest version of yourself! Please let me know if I can help you in any way.


Do you have any weight loss tips to add to this list?

Please share your tips and thoughts below in the comment section!


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