Why you don’t want to diet during the holidays

WASHINGTON — Ho-ho, oh no. While it’s no lump of coal, this fact is still a bummer: The average person puts on an extra pound during the holiday period. And the problem for many people is that they don’t lose that pound in the New Year.

Lean Plate Club™ blogger Sally Squires says the holidays are not a good time to start a diet.

The big reason for that is temptation.

“We’re just in the throes of seeing all these wonderful foods and the parties and all this stuff that’s happening. Plus you’re going to see a lot of family and friends,” Squires told WTOP. “It’s a terrible time to diet.”

But she said there is something called “The Holiday Challenge” — which centers around the decision to not gain weight between now and New Year’s.

“Just that mindset, just a simple little twist, to say, ‘OK, I’m not dieting but I’m not going to gain any weight.’ So you get on the scale today, and you say, ‘Between now and New Year’s Day, I’m not going to gain any weight,'” Squires said.

And it helps, according to Lean Plate Club™ members.

It isn’t a matter of depriving oneself, it’s just keeping yourself in check during celebrations.

Even so, what’s the secret to getting into that mindset?

Planning is very important.

“Consider the parties that you’re going to go to,” Squires advised. “When you go to those parties, you want to be festive, right? You want to sample the foods that you’re not going to get the rest of the year.”

“So, it’s really thinking about: ‘OK, do I want to have Christmas cookies because I’m not going to eat those in July? Do I want to have the eggnog … because I’m not going to have that in the spring?'” she continued.

It’s a matter of figuring out what you want to sample during the holidays that will make you feel good but won’t cause you to ruin your health or your waistline, she said.

“And you should never go to a holiday party hungry,” Squires said. “Have a little snack between 30 minutes to an hour before a party.”

Adequate rest is a big part of things, too.

“We know that we all tend to be sleep-deprived” during the holiday season, she explained. “The first thing that goes is sleep, and that’s probably the last thing that should go.”

Not getting enough sleep botches how your body behaves, from hormone balances to blood sugar, according to Squires.

“If you have the option, get the extra little sleep,” she said.

And, of course, stay hydrated.

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