The holidays can be a challenging time when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, between mid-November and mid-January, adults in Western societies gain an average of 1 pound. This may not sound like much, but many people never lose the extra weight, which can lead to gaining about 10-20 pounds per decade.

Making some mindful decisions and practicing moderation during this time can help prevent the holidays from negatively impacting your health.

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation, which can be common during the holidays, can lead to weight gain. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to lower metabolism, and it may increase hunger hormone levels, causing you to consume more calories. Even losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day may promote weight gain, according to this study. Try to maintain your sleep schedule and get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

2. Try to maintain

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Instead of trying to lose weight over the holidays, create a realistic goal – to maintain your weight over the holidays.

3. Prioritize your plate

When making up your plate, fill up most of it with fresh fruits, salads, and fresh or roasted vegetables. This will leave little room in your stomach for unhealthier foods such as appetizers and desserts.

4. Eat before you go out

Before you go out, fill up on healthy, filling foods. This way you won’t have much room left for the fattening, unhealthy options.

5. Challenge yourself

Most people start their New Year’s Resolutions in – well – the new year. Challenge yourself to a pre-New Year’s Resolution of eating healthy before the new year even gets here. When you accomplish your goal, reward yourself with something non-food related.

6. Exercise

Develop a consistent exercise routine, whether it’s walking, treadmilling, doing sit-ups or push-ups, etc. This may not only help you maintain your weight during the holidays, but there are numerous benefits to working out, including reducing stress and improving sleep.

7. Alcohol in moderation

Alcoholic drinks can contain a lot of calories. There are about 150 calories in a 12-oz can of beer and 125 calories in a 5-oz glass of red wine. Having several drinks in a night can mean consuming several hundred extra calories, which can lead to increased body fat. Alcohol can also negatively affect your sleep, and being intoxicated can affect your judgment calls, especially with food.

8. Bring Your Own Food (BYOF)

If you’re going to a holiday gathering, bring a healthy dish to share with everyone. This way, you know that there will be a healthy option for you. Access Physical Therapy & Wellness wants to wish all of our patients a happy and healthy holiday season.