4 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Extra pounds during the holidays can creep on steadily, leaving you with New Year's resolutions about getting fit and dropping a size or two.

According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, functional medicine doctor and New York Times bestselling author of "The Hormone Cure," preventing holiday weight gain is easier than you may think, but it requires some conscious tweaks to your diet and routine.

Here are four of her tips for avoiding extra pounds while you enjoy the spirit of the season:

1. Work out before meals

In order to utilize excess calories instead of storing them as fat, you need to make your muscles "hungry," Gottfried says.

"To do this, simply contract your muscles forcefully for a few seconds or better yet, do 10-20 push ups or hold a wall sit for 1 minute," she explains.

Better yet, do a full workout before a meal to prepare your muscles to receive the most nutrients from your food and use insulin appropriately.

2. If you can, do a mini fast

For some diabetics - especially those with type 1 diabetes or those taking insulin - fasting is not safe.

Yet many people with type 2 diabetes can benefit from what Dr. Gottfried calls a "mini" fast.

"Start your fast at night after your last meal. (I stop eating before 7 p.m.)," she says. "When you wake up in the morning, half of your fast will be complete. Hurray for that. Then, if you can make it until the early afternoon on water and herbal tea, then you'll have completed your intermittent fast. I break my fast with a green shake at 1 p.m. – that’s 18 hours!"

If you're unsure about the safety of fasting, check with your doctor before changing your diet.

3. Send home your leftovers

If you're hosting holidays at home, pack up leftovers for your guests to leave with.

"Two benefits here: they get another festive meal the next day, and you prevent the fridge-raiding binge," Gottfried says.

Turn leftovers into holiday gifts by wrapping them up in pretty glass or stainless steel containers, she suggests.

4. Aim to maintain, not gain

A lot of people mistakenly try to lose weight during the holiday season, setting themselves up for failure.

"Instead, maintain your current weight. Often it’s helpful to weigh in once per week," Gottfried explains.

If you aim to maintain - and not gain any weight - you're more likely to enjoy the holidays and still start off the New Year feeling content with your weight.

Source: Dr. Sara Gottfried

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