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How to avoid holiday weight gain with these simple tips

November 26, 2013

The holidays are right around the corner, and many of us are cringing at the thought of what seems to be the unavoidable weight gain that happens every… single… year. But with all of the holidays dishes laced with butter, sugary baked goods, and luscious, rich holiday drinks, who can resist? Maybe this year you can break the weight gain cycle. Staying healthy through the holidays can be easier than you think, using these helpful tips.

Preparing for the holiday season

  • The holidays are stressful enough with family coming into town, travel plans, and last minute Christmas shopping. Set a realistic goal to maintain your weight over the holiday season, instead of trying to meet a large weight loss goal when temptations are high.
  • Take 10- to 15- minute brisk walks to help relieve holiday stress, and help clear your mind of your growing to-do lists as the holidays kick into high-gear.
  • Stay on your regular eating pattern and don’t skip meals. If you over-indulged at breakfast, don’t skip lunch and dinner. Skipping meals can lead to excessive hunger and over-eating. Instead, eat something light to tie you over until your next meal.
  • Decide it is okay to eat your favorite high-fat foods. I always say, “everything in moderation.” Choose the indulgent foods you really enjoy and eat small portions to satisfy your craving.
  • Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday foods by eating mindfully and in small portions. Here’s a great portion control tip for the holidays – carry an ice cream scoop with you to use to fill your plate with various foods. That way, you get a smaller portion of your favorite foods.
  • Eat a light, healthy snack before going to an event or party. This will help curb your hunger going into the party, and control your portions and choices while at the party.

Mindful eating while at the party

  • Check out the buffet and food choices before filling your plate. How often do you go down the buffet line filling your plate up from the beginning, only to realize what you really wanted was at the end of the buffet line? Avoid this by scoping out your options first, and then choosing your favorite foods to eat and skipping the rest. Aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose calorie-free beverages. Limit your intake of alcohol, juices, sodas, and eggnogs. The calories from sugar in these beverages can add up quickly, and often goes unnoticed.
  • Bring a healthy dish to share. Are you in charge of a dish at your family potluck? Bring a healthy side dish that everyone will be sure to enjoy and I guarantee you, you won’t be the only one that’s glad you did.
  • Make only one trip to the buffet table. With so many food options, it can be hard not to go back for seconds or thirds. Try to avoid this by grabbing your favorite foods the first go-around, and savor every bite.
  • Keep your hands full with a low-calorie beverage. Hold your glass in the hand you usually eat with to keep from grabbing nibbles here and there as butlers make their way around the room.
  • Stand away from the buffet table so that you aren’t tempted to nibble.
  • Eat only when you are hungry, and not because food is at your fingertips. It’s also easy to mistake hunger for thirst, so make sure that you are properly hydrated by drinking water throughout the night.
  • Avoid nibbling while you cook. There is a difference between nibbling and tasting while preparing foods. Avoid nibbling so that when it’s time to eat, you can sit down and enjoy the hard work you put into the meal!
I hope that these tips help guide you through a healthier holiday season. Remember, the holidays are all about time spent with friends and family, so enjoy every minute!