Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Published on May 6, 2014

By MidlandsClinic

The holidays are upon us again, and for many of us, this is our most favorite time of the year. Is there anything that can stand in the way of our visions of sugarplums, white fluffy snow, or Jolly Old St. Nick? Sure…the fear of holiday weight gain!!! A 2011 Consumer Report Survey on what Americans dread most about the holiday season, 37% said the thought of gaining weight over the holiday season was what they dreaded the most! But how much weight do we actually gain over the holiday season? The answer to this question is not really known. The best answer we can find is anywhere from 1-10 pounds. What is most consistent about the findings of holiday weight gain, however, is that many Americans fail to lose what they gain over a holiday season. So as the years go on, our weight continues to creep up.

So can you have the best of both worlds? Can you truly enjoy the holiday season and prevent weight gain? Yes! This article includes a variety of tips to prevent holiday weight gain.

  • Plan, plan, plan.  It is the holidays after all!  More than likely, you are going to eat foods that you normally don’t, but you must have a plan in place.  It is important to plan to eat the healthy foods, but it is just as important to plan out the unhealthy foods as well.  This will help you keep the portions of your favorite holiday foods under control.
  • Change your holiday traditions.
    • Find more ways to add physical activity to your holidays.  Play games, the Wii, or take a walk with friends or family members.
    • Change up the menu.  Add healthier items to the menu this year.  Find lower-calorie sweet treats too.
  • Eat before you go.  Eat a small meal or hearty snack before attending your holiday gatherings.  Being satisfied, as opposed to hungry, will help you control your portion sizes and help you make healthier food choices.
  • If dining at a buffet or potluck, keep these rules in mind.  Walk through the buffet line with no plate in hand and make a game plan of what you are going to eat.  Strive to create a balanced meal.  Then, make 1 trip through the buffet with plate in hand, making sure that none of the food touches on your plate (to keep your portions sizes under control).
  • Beware of liquid calories.  Holiday beverages can be an easy way to pack in a lot of extra calories.  Opt for lower calorie versions of eggnog, flavored coffees, and your favorite holiday cocktail.
  • If all else fails, remember to eat higher-calorie foods in moderation.  You can do this by following the 3 Bite Rule:  the first bite tastes the best, the second bite confirms just how good the food really is, and the third bite is your last so savor it as much as possible.

Happy Holidays!

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