If you are following a plant-based diet for weight loss and struggling between falling off the wagon completely during the holidays or having a joyless season trying to meet your weight loss goals, know this: it's not one of the other! There are a few things you can do to help you stick with your plant-based weight loss AND enjoy the season.
Before We Begin: Let MamaSezz Do Your Holiday Cooking
If you truly want to surprise everyone and put the “plant-based diets are boring” myth to sleep for good, let MamaSezz do the cooking this year with the ready-made plant-based Holiday Bundle. Pour a glass of your favorite drink, and enjoy the season. Order your Holiday Bundle here.
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It's no secret that people tend to overeat during the holiday season, gaining an average of one pound this time of year. While one pound really isn't a big deal, research shows most people don’t lose that pound and the weight can add up over the years. While we don't like to obsess over the scale at MamaSezz (it isn't always a good indicator for health and happiness!), too much extra weight can be problematic for our health — and if you're trying to sustain your plant-based weight loss, putting on pounds over the holidays can be a real kick in the gut!
1. Practice Mindful Eating
It’s easy to reach for seconds when you’re caught up in seasonal festivities, from cooking decorating to holiday dinners Try to pay close attention to your body’s fullness signals and put your plate away when you realize you are comfortably full. Chew slowly and mindfully, savoring every bite. You can also avoid eating and engaging in conversation at the same time, since it can lead you to eat more than you might if you were focusing more mindfully on your meal.
2. Focus On Whole Foods
It's easy to fall into temptation and overindulge during the holidays, whether that's vegan junk food or bigger portions in general. The best thing you can to do sustain plant-based weight loss is to never let yourself get too hungry. How? By loading up on high fiber filling foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When you're full, treats won't seem so appealing. Fiber also helps keep you full for longer periods, which will make it easier for you to politely decline that offer for seconds at the dinner table.
3. Plan Ahead
There's nothing worse than sitting down to eat only to realize that there's nothing that aligns with your plant-based diet. Planning ahead is a lifesaver here. Offer to make a main dish or appetizer to share, then make it plant-based so that you have at least a few options at the table. Have a sweet tooth? Take on dessert and prove to your whole family how delicious a plant-based diet can be. Need some inspiration? Try these kid-approved vegan holiday treat recipes.
3. Create New Traditions
Holiday traditions can often be food-centric and you end up straying from your diet to avoid hurting people. Mix things up this year! Create new traditions and memories that don't revolve around food. Go for a walk after dinner, play outdoor or indoor games, or gather round to tell stories reminiscing over the past year.
4. Avoid Stress
Stress raises cortisol levels and makes you crave junk food. For some people the holidays are extremely stressful and it's 2020 no less. Try to find time in the day to unwind, concentrate on yourself, and reinforce your goals and plant-based weight loss progress. Don't forget to get plenty of sleep — sleep deprivation can increase your hunger hormone levels!
5. Be Careful Of Liquid Calories
What you drink matters, too! Alcohol is known to increase your appetite, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake, so be mindful of how much - and what - you drink. Try these immunity-boosting vegan mocktail recipes instead.
Oh, And If You Fall Into Familiar Habits? Shake It Off!
Be kind to yourself this holiday season? Ate too many gingerbread cookies? Couldn't resist the holiday ham? Progress is not linear and tomorrow is another day. If you feel very much derailed, reboot with the MamaSezz 2-Week WFPB Challenge this January and get back on track.
- People gain on average 1 pound per holiday season...and most don't lose that weight so it can accumulate over the years.
- You don't have to gain weight this holiday season (and you don't have to have a joyless holiday because you're trying to avoid weight gain, either!)
- To sustain your plant-based weight loss, practice mindful eating, focus on whole foods, create new traditions, avoid stress, and be careful of liquid calories.
- Fell into familiar habits this holiday season? No worries. If you're ready to get back on the horse, reboot with the MamaSezz 2-Week WFPB Challenge this January.
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.