Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

CautionThe holidays are upon us which means that many of us will be going to parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family surrounded by beautiful feasts and scrumptious treats.  It’s the time of year when it seems almost inevitable to avoid gaining a few pounds – especially when it seems so easy to gorge ourselves on the delectable treats available.  So, here are just a few tips that may help prevent you from overdoing it this season.


Eat Before You Go – Never arrive to a party hungry.  If you have a meal (or even a healthy snack) prior to leaving for your engagement you’ll be less likely to pig out on the goodies provided.

Use a Smaller Plate – If you do hit a party hungry  or if you’re invited to a buffet-style dinner party, choose a smaller plate.  This will help with portion control and will also limit your options (so choose wisely).  You may be eyeing that chocolately goodie but the sugar will make you crash quickly, so be sure to pick foods (if available) that will keep you full longer – veggie and fruit trays, nuts, soup (soup is a great way cut calories and get full!), even crackers and cheese.  Or if it’s a well rounded buffet you can choose a “meal”: salad, meats, etc.  Also, choosing wisely should help you limit yourself to one plate.

Down Some Water – Filling up on water will keep you hydrated and feeling full.  If your tummy if full of water there’s not much room left for food.

Stay Away from the Kitchen/Don’t Nibble – Offering to help a host is a lovely gesture but try to stay out of the kitchen where the food and temptations are.  If you’re hosting the event do your best not to nibble while you’re preparing.  Don’t nibble/test/snack/lick your fingers/beaters/spoons.  There’s no need to sample every (any) dish you’re making.

Nurse a Drink – Alcoholic beverages contain “empty calories,” offering little to no nutritional value and contributing to excess weight gain.  Aside from that, excess drinking will limit your control on what you eat.  If you get tipsy you’re more inclined to get the munchies.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a celebratory drink (glass of wine, martini, beer) but 10 of those is too much.  Nurse your drink (aka sip slowly) or even switch up every other drink with a glass of water (hydration!!), tea, cider or something else low cal.  And if possible, choose a smaller glass.

Wear Something Fitting – This tip may seem lame but it works.  If you wear something fitting your figure you’re not going to overeat or overdrink.  You want to continue to feel great in your outfit and not want to feel like you’re going to burst thru your pants/dress/shirt.

Santa Claus Measuring Fat Belly

Share – If you really want to try that turtle square and that slice of cheesecake and that new champagne, try sharing it.  Split your treats/drinks with a spouse or a friend…or two.  That way you can get a taste of the treat without all the excess calories and fat and sugar.  Plus, isn’t it nice to share.

Stay Away from the Food Court – When out shopping and hunger hits, it’s super easy to stop at the food court or some other unhealthy snack shack (pretzels, donuts, etc.).  If you know you’re going to be at the mall for quite some time and will need a meal you can pack a snack – veggies and hummus, fruit, yogurt, a healthy wrap.  Or if you absolutely must hit a food court or other fast restaurant choose the healthiest option – Pita Pit, Subway, or some place that has salads or healthy soups or sandwiches.  Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to chow down on fried crap.  Also, limit your Starbucks or other liquid treats (mochas, cappuccinos, etc.).

Don’t Skimp On Your Workouts – The holidays obviously get extremely busy with work and shopping and parties/concerts/dinners/events and prep work (baking, wrapping, decorating) so it seems the perfect time to excuse yourself from exercise.  Uh, no.  Exercise is important – not only to maintain your fitness goals but also for maintaining your sanity (exercise is an excellent stress reliever) – and you should never omit it.  Plan your day or week in advance and figure out when the best time of day is to get your exercise in and stick with it.  Even if you can only fit in 20 minutes a day – 20 minutes a day can change your life.  So, plan for a run or a video at home or even if you can fit in a class early in the morning or late in the evening (my evening yoga classes begin at 8:35pm).

holiday yoga

You do what you gotta do to keep fit and healthy and make time for yourself.  And if you’re at a holiday party and the opportunity is there to dance – take full advantage of it and burn off some of those calories.