The holidays are traditionally a special season for enjoying our favorite rich foods. But we usually pay later because extra calories, inactivity, and stress tend to promote weight gain. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that being overweight also weakens the immune system and increases the risk of illness. That’s why it’s essential to avoid weight gain during the holidays. Be mindful of changes you’re noticing in your weight, especially in the holiday season.
3 easy ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays
1. Drink more water
Some people mistake thirst for hunger so they overeat and tend to gain weight. Failing to drink water causes dehydration, which impairs the body and weakens the immune system.
When you are well-hydrated, your urine is clear or light yellow. If drinking water is something that falls by the wayside during your day, your urine will become increasingly yellow. And if you’re severely dehydrated, it may even resemble apple juice.
2. Snack mindfully
People are baking more than usual as an escape from the stress of the pandemic. If you enjoy baking, be mindful of processed sugar, flour, and oil. These ingredients promote rapid weight gain. They also trigger inflammation which weakens the immune system. Healthy snacks are the solution.
Try replacing some of your snacks with fresh fruit. Place a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter. If this is the first thing you see, you’ll be more likely to grab a piece of fruit instead of something unhealthy. Fresh fruit is good for you because it’s high in fiber and water, so it makes you feel full longer and curbs your appetite. Fruit is low in calories and high in antioxidants, which support your immune system, making you healthier all the way around.
3. Walk after meals
Walking is an effective way to lower glucose and burn calories thus reducing belly fat. In my program, Optimal Health Reset™ I teach my students how to incorporate walking as one of the key strategies for effectively lowering blood sugar with diabetes and losing weight.
Moderately intense physical activity, like brisk walking, has been shown to strengthen the immune system. Although walking is generally a safe exercise for beginners, if you are new to exercise or chronically ill, inform your doctor before you start. Good health shouldn’t be complicated. Practice using these easy strategies so that you can avoid weight gain during the holidays and support your immune system as well. Download the cheat sheet, 10 Things You Must Know to Strengthen the Immune System, for additional ways to support your health as we head into the new year. Happy holidays!
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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