How to Avoid the Jingle Bell Bloat

by Erin Cox

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For many, the holidays are weight gain’s “perfect storm."

Holiday madness can throw your life off-balance - lots of parties with scrumptious food and delectable drinks can be hard to resist; monster to-do lists can cut into sleep; and crazy schedules can get in the way of the gym... leading to guilt, anxiety, and a chubby belly. And all in time to make it tough to fit into form-fitting holiday finery!

It’s already happening in my world! My belly is starting to bloat like a balloon and we’re just getting warmed up with the holiday partying!

Since baby #3 arrived seven months ago, my stomach looks flat in the morning and three-months pregnant by the end of the day. Right when I start feeling skinny, I indulge and end up with a round belly. This season, I vow to avoid the typical “holiday 5,” by following my own wellness and self-care advice. I will zip up my fun party dresses!

So how do you avoid a round belly and steer clear of feeling overwhelmed and cranky? (Are you sitting down?) Here are some unexpected tips backed by scientific research that just might surprise you:

1. Go to bed! 

Exhaustion is a mood breaker, libido killer, and contributes to feeling frazzled and inundated…but did you know it can also make you fat? Bodies metabolize fat during deep sleep phases…and it’s proven that getting adequate sleep will effortlessly keep your metabolism burning at a healthy pace! More energy + less fat storage + reduced overwhelm = happy mama!

2. Meditate!

Cortisol is the stress hormone that your body releases when under “attack,” which is how we can feel when we are online shopping until 2:00 am, wrapping presents before the family wakes, squeezing a work deadline into hours shared with writing hundreds of Christmas cards…all while trying to create the “movie-perfect” holidays for our children!

Meditating for even 10 minutes before your family wakes will reduce cortisol levels and keep you feeling “even keel” all day long. Belly benefit? Cortisol slows your metabolism and is directly linked to abdominal fat. Taking time to get “zen” before the day’s madness begins will have the multi-faceted benefits of keeping you trim while helping you roll with whatever the holidays bring.

3. Remain Present!

One of the most powerful ways to avoid holiday weight gain is to eat with your complete presence. Sounds simple... because it is! Avoiding your favorite cookies or treats can backfire…prompting you to “accidently” eat the entire pan.

Before you partake of your favorite holiday foods, take a few deep breaths and vow to eat slowly and savor each bite. When you do, you’ll find yourself enjoying that cookie so much you might only need a half. Make a conscious decision to only eat what your body needs. Relish the complexity of the spices, the way you feel after each bite, and the wonderful memories it evokes. You’ll find yourself eating far less and feeling 100% satisfied!

Holiday parties, treats, and drinks are an annual delight not to be missed! Lose the guilt and simply try to keep your life balanced and your well-being in check. For once, your pants won’t feel tight as you head into a fabulous new year!

How do you avoid weight gain during the holidays?

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