Eight easy tips to avoid holiday weight gain

It’s inevitable, and you can’t avoid it.  We’re talking about the Holidays, not the weight gain!  There are plenty of ways to prepare yourself and feel good about still being able to celebrate each holiday without adding to your waistline.  You might think that this is about telling you to skip dessert, or alcohol, but the tips are actually to provide you with the freedom “to enjoy”.

Some of us may spend holidays alone, or working, but for the most part, we spend them with family and friends.  Some will even spend holidays with co-workers, religious groups, and social groups.  It doesn’t matter where or how you spend it, as long as you prepare before the celebration.

Above all else, this is a time to create memories and spread the love.  We need to keep that perspective in mind and love ourselves as well. It’s become such a popular custom to spend money on gifts, shipping, travel, decorations, food and drink, and tend to think we should reward ourselves with whatever we choose.  The problem is that we end up regretting the reward later when we have to limit ourselves in order to lose the added weight gained.

Hold Up

What if there was a way that you could enjoy your time with family and friends, eat, drink and be merry and continue to do so once the holidays are over? Well there is, and we want to share some of those tips with you.

Sometimes we get so busy when we travel, host a holiday party, or attend one, and we forget to eat.  Or we hold off on eating, so that we can indulge later in the day.  That’s the first issue.  We need to treat this day the way we would any other day and include a small breakfast and stay nourished so that we don’t overindulge.

Another simple way to avoid weight gain is to fill your plate with all of the items that you want, but be sure to include a solid amount of protein. Whether you choose the main course protein, or something else prepared, it should be the center of your meal. If you have a special diet or preference, you can choose to bring your own dish, or eat something before the celebration.  This way you are not caught by surprise, and choosing any option possible in order to solve the hunger issue.

Be Mindful of the Season

Additionally, to slow down the weight gain is to slow down the conversation.  While enjoying the different selections of food, drink, and dessert, choose to enjoy and spend time with others.  Not only will this create memories, but you will not be focused solely on the food. There are times that we will look back and wish we would have spent more time with a certain person in our lives. Well, this is your chance. We don’t usually look back and remember what dessert or side dish that we ate, but who was there and who wasn’t there.

It is important to remember that our body does not register that we are full right away, it takes some time. Waiting before you fill your plate up again, may be the best decision.  Another option is to go for a walk, and take a friend or family member with you.  If you rush to fulfill your appetite, you may overeat and feel overfull afterward.  Slow it down to enjoy conversation and food.

Easy on the Snacking

When you arrive at a party, or host your own, it can be tempting to snack while conversing or making the snacks.  Be mindful of what you put in your mouth.  Choose snacking carefully, cheese and crackers, fruit, nuts and vegetables are all great choices, and the fiber will fill you up temporarily!

While setting up for an event, or attending a holiday party, make it a point to use small plates as well as large ones. The smaller plates allow for smaller portions giving guests the alternative to larger servings.  Many people like to serve or enjoy wine, beer, liquor and eggnog during festivities.  Just be sure to limit the amount of alcohol available for consumption, and serve plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives. If you are consuming alcohol, try to limit your consumption and be sure to stay hydrated throughout the parties. Alcohol not only adds extra calories but also adds to the emotional factor.  It may increase your irresponsibility, not only in food choices but in conversations and in driving.

The last thing to consider, but definitely not least, is dessert.  There is no reason that you shouldn’t enjoy a dessert, as long as there are no dietary restrictions. Moderation is the key.  If there is more than one option that you can choose, then choose wisely. Servings should be less if you are consuming more than one dessert. An alternative would be to take the dessert home with you. That would allow for fewer calories for the day, and you can enjoy it the next day. If you are the one baking, try using less sugar or alternative sweeteners, such as apple sauce or bananas and fats than what the recipe calls for.  Many oils can be substituted as well as sweeteners. Or find a healthy recipe that can give you the list of ingredients needed to change the original recipe.

It can be stressful to see family or friends at times, and we sometimes choose to eat and drink our anxieties away.  But if we take a few minutes to realize that this is a time to celebrate, we can appreciate our time together and change our attitude to make the right choices.

On that note, here’s to the holidays, happiness and health!!  Cheers!

Main Points:

  1. Stay nourished – don’t overindulge.
  2. Eat what you want but include protein.
  3. Don’t be caught by surprise, if you are on a special diet bring your own dish, or eat something before the celebration.
  4. Take more time to enjoy and spend time with others in conversation.
  5. Be mindful of everything that goes in your mouth. Don’t snack mindlessly.
  6. Use smaller plates.
  7. Limit your alcohol intake and stay hydrated.
  8. Enjoy dessert – with moderation.