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How to keep from gaining weight over the holidays

Staying hydrated throughout the holidays could be the number one way to prevent weight gain.

For more years than I would like to admit, the holidays were my major downfall — leading right into the coldest, snowiest and hardest time of year to get outside and be active, which means I didn’t lose the weight until sometime around April. Yikes! I would gain at least 5 pounds from Thanksgiving to January 1. What can I say? I love food!

But, I don’t love food so much that I want my health to suffer — or the way I feel about my body to suffer. I have integrated many strategies over the years to keep a healthy weight, and one of the easiest that anyone can add to their daily routine is drink more water!

Especially during the holidays, traditional foods — at least in my family — are full of fat, salt and sugar, all of which contribute to dehydration. Eat too many of these foods and you may confuse your thirst for hunger, which could lead to additional overeating.

The benefits of hydration

  • Staying hydrated will keep you from eating when you are actually thirsty.
  • Staying hydrated will keep you satiated between meals, preventing the snack attack.
  • Drinking one or two glasses of water before you eat will make you feel full faster.
  • Water flushes fat from your body.

How much water do you need?

  • General rule: Eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day — or 64 total ounces.
  • Add 8 ounces for every 30 minutes of activity.
  • Use a hydration calculator.

How to incorporate water into your lifestyle

  • Keep a reusable bottle filled with water with you all of the time and drink continuously.
  • Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before meals.
  • Eat soup.
  • Drink herbal teas.
  • Try flavor-infused waters.
  • Drink sparkling water.

I love food, especially the foods of the holidays. Using a few easy strategies like drinking plenty of water helps me to enjoy my favorite foods without unnecessary weight gain.

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