Face it, everyone’s done it – abandoned wellness goals over the holidays, hoping to make up for it with New Year’s resolutions. According to a recent study, half of Americans have broken a diet due to the holidays. In the fifth annual Writing Off the End of the Year survey, commissioned by https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/, the average respondent expects to gain eight pounds over the holiday season. But most aren’t worrying about the weight gain, and instead plan on enjoying the season without sticking to their diets.
What’s their solution? More than 60% say they will wait till the new year, making that extra weight next year’s problem. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Putting those extra holiday pounds on your New Years’ resolutions just makes it harder down the road. And unfortunately, the pandemic has compounded the problem. For 40% of respondents, the extra weight they anticipate is in addition to the weight they’ve already gained during the pandemic.
The stress of the past year and a half has spurred many to overeat, with 65% feeling like they “deserve” treats this year more than in previous years. How can you avoid piling on the pounds and overloading your 2023 resolutions? “Holiday celebrations don’t have to destroy your healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Kent Bradley, chief health and nutrition officer, Herbalife Nutrition. Focus on your long-term goals, so you can make more thoughtful choices.
Here are tips for staying on track over the holidays and making resolutions you can keep all year:
Plan ahead. Don’t arrive hungry. Eat a high-protein snack, to give you energy and keep you from overindulging at a party. Snack on hard-boiled eggs, lean lunch meat, low-fat cheese, yogurt or a handful of nuts. By focusing on proteins over carbs, slowing your eating pace and making sure you don’t go to the party hungry, you can enjoy yourself and minimize weight gain, adds Bradley.
Stay hydrated. The body can mistake thirst for hunger, which may lead to overeating. Staying hydrated with plain or sparkling water also helps you feel fuller. Sip on a glass of water between snacks to slow down and enjoy the day.
Pace yourself. In the survey, 48% admitted they’ve eaten so much during the holidays, they had to undo the button on their pants or loosen their belt, and 45% have eaten more than one of the same meal in a day; such as multiple lunches or dinners. Others said they’ve eaten until they feel sick, unwell or full to bursting; or they deliberately wore stretchy clothes to accommodate overeating (both 39%).
If you’re hosting a gathering, start a holiday singalong, set up a fun craft or suggest a walk outside. If you’re at someone else’s shindig, take breaks from eating treats by talking to people or playing games. Food doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of every get-together.
Make your resolutions count. In the survey, 2/3 of respondents (64%) said they’re actively delaying attempts to be healthy over the holidays and of those, 56% said they’ll begin postponing their wellness efforts by mid-November. But many said they’ll pick healthy habits back up in the New Year. The study found that 39% plan to make a New Year’s resolution for 2022. The top goal? Exercising more (27%), followed by eating healthier (25%) and focusing on self-care (22%).
Make your resolutions concrete, realistic and attainable so you can keep them well past January.
The most successful New Years’ health resolutions combine nutritious balanced diets and exercise, have specific, achievable goals and activate a community of like-minded supportive people, added Bradley.
Here’s how to make effective New Year’s resolutions:
- Make them simple and concrete: 30 minutes of exercise per day or Add 1 vegetable to meals for example. If you’re starting an exercise program, check with your doctor first.
- Don’t overload yourself: Start with only 1-2 goals, or you can feel overwhelmed.
- Use the buddy system: Find a friend or group of like-minded people to support you and help keep each other accountable.
- Don’t give up on your wellness before New Year, and use resolutions to focus on small, reachable goals, so you can build on that success all year long.