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Nine tips to avoid weight gain during holidays
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Nine tips to avoid weight gain during holidays

Gaining weight during vacation can be a major concern for many. But these tips can help you manage it
As it might be difficult to exercise to burn those calories, a word of advice by experts is to practice portion control.
Holiday weight gain can be quite easily prevented or managed, provided one is careful of what they eat and stays active.

Holiday season can be a big threat to one’s waistline or toned abs. While spending time with family and friends, it gets very easy to slip away from the strict diet and indulge in some delicacies, causing some weight gain.

Though the holiday weight gain isn’t a big scary number, it can be enough for one to avoid even looking at their weighing scale. Edwina Raj, head of services, clinic nutrition & dietetics, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, says one gains about one to three kgs over a month during the vacation mode. One with obesity are likely to gain more weight due to poor metabolism. However, holiday weight gain can be quite easily prevented or managed, provided one is careful of what they eat and stays active.

Here are some tips and tricks to avoid putting on some extra kilos while you chill by the seaside or soak in some beautiful mountain views.

1. Stay active

Experts suggest trying to stay active. Instead of binge-watching some movies, you can plan to go on a trek or a stroll by the beach. If that seems difficult with the group of friends and family you are holidaying with, you can try practicing exercise snacking (structuring exercise with short bouts), suggested by Raj. You can wear comfortable shoes and go on a walk with friends or family for at least 15 minutes whenever it is feasible.

You may otherwise also do some cardio in the hotel gym or a 20-minute easy-to-do workout in your room while you wait for your room service. Abhishek Khandekar, a senior fitness trainer and coach, recommends some body weight exercise combinations to do. He suggests 25 jumping jacks, 15 body weight squats, 10 pushups and 10 lunges with each leg and to end the routine with 10 burpees. “Four sets of each will help maintain or even lose weight without the use of any equipment during the holidays,” he says.

2. Exercise portion control

It is common to overeat on holidays. As it might be difficult to exercise to burn those calories, a word of advice by experts is to practice portion control. During a buffet lunch, choose a smaller plate. It can help reduce the quantity of food that one can load onto their plates and thus, avoid overeating and subsequent possibility of weight gain.

3. Consume fiber and protein rich diet

A holiday feast is typically rich in carbs with a dozen choices of breads and a variety of rice. Khandekar says instead, replace carbs with protein like meat and paneer and fiber like wholegrains which can improve satiety.

Also, when you step out, experts advise to avoid fast food joints or restaurants that mostly serve unhealthy carbs and loads of fried foods. “Consume more vegetables and fruits. At least have some vegetable soup or some vegetable preparations before starting a meal and then pick up a little protein on your plate. It could be paneer or sprouts, egg, chicken or fish. Avoid polish white rice and consuming a lot of carbs. Choose whole grain options instead. And keep the dinner light,” says Raj.

4. Limit your dessert intake

A meal, especially on a vacation, has to end on a ‘sweet note’ with a dessert. But as it is popularly said, ‘a moment on the lips, forever on the hips’. So, try shifting your focus to some healthy alternative or avoid tasting every cake on the counter. Consuming sugar is a common cause of weight gain. Khandekar says, “If there aren’t healthy options available, you can just focus on your favorite desserts and ditch the rest.”

5. Limit alcohol intake

Raising a toast and cheering for a celebration are parts of a holiday tradition, which can create social pressure to drink more. A wide selection of alcohol on the bar counter at a holiday party can be another reason why one may not be able to hold away from ‘all the fun’ as socially sanctioned. But one needs to understand that holiday drinking can become a problem.

Experts advise limiting alcohol intake as it is high in calories and can cause severe dehydration. They also add sugar and empty calories to the diet, which can cause holiday weight gain. It causes more hunger and less satiety and can also lead to cravings for some salty accompaniments.

6. Drink plenty of fluids

One may tend to avoid drinking water, especially on a road trip in remote areas, for fear of answering nature’s call. But that shouldn’t get in the way of staying hydrated. Drinking fluids not only helps avoid dehydration but also helps manage weight as it can curb hunger. Raj says, “Drink adequate fluids. It can be buttermilk or a simple fruit-infused water. When one is well hydrated, they will not feel very hungry and avoid overeating, which can otherwise cause issues with digestion. So, hydration is a very important factor.”

However, one should avoid drinks with sugar in them, says Khandekar.

7. Ensure proper mealtimes

It can get difficult to have meals on time as one may not find restaurants frequently on a long stretch while traveling. One may also tend to prioritize participating in activities and attending events on their itinerary and adjust meal timings accordingly. However, that may not be a good idea to avoid holiday weight gain, if it means long gaps between meals. “Skipping breakfast on vacation can make one binge-eat more food due to hunger, leading to overeating. Long gap between meals increases cravings and one tends to eat double the amount of food than usual. Also, when you are hungry, you eat whatever is there on the plate,” says Raj.

8. Carry healthy snacks

When you hit the road this holiday season, ensure to pack some healthy snacks to munch. Raj says, “One can choose healthy options like trail mix with berries and nuts or oil seed mix. Carrying fruits or healthy snack bars or healthy homemade cookies while traveling is also good. Be mindful of your meals and what you choose to eat.”

9. Sleep tight

Proper sleep is also important. A new hotel room or location or the stress of travel can cause poor sleep. Khandekar says poor sleep can further increase stress and chances of stress eating. “Poor sleep is a major risk factor for weight gain and obesity. It can lead to increased hunger, decreased physical activity, consuming more calories and hormonal imbalance,” he says.

The holiday weight gain can be temporary if one gets back to his routine and follows a healthy lifestyle after the vacation. It is important to continue with a balanced diet, regular exercise and proper sleep to not just help reduce those extra kilos but also improve metabolism. Raj says one can reduce a kg a week if they are consistent with their weight loss plan under the guidance of a fitness and nutrition expert.

Khandekar recommends weight training and cardio for weight loss post vacation along with proper hydration with water, herbal tea and detox juice. He says they can not only help in reducing weight but also getting the body rid of toxins and preventing illness.

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