We all look forward to the holidays. They’re an excuse to celebrate and break from the norm.
While all of this celebrating is great and fun and joyful, it can also be hard to superimpose the pleasures of the season onto your clean living efforts, and this often means certain weight gain for so many.
Truth be told, your body would probably forgive you if you overdid it on the chocolate for a few days around Halloween, as long as you went right back to your healthy diet afterwards.
The trouble is that Thanksgiving has to get tucked into November, and then of course Christmas and Hanukkah takeover December, and then New Years somehow slides right into Valentine’s Day to end the season.
Do the math: a few days of overindulging at each holiday and we’re talking at least 15 days of celebrating that lands on your love handles, and your body can’t just shake the weight gain off so easily. Eeeek. How ya gonna handle this?
Before you can plan to conquer the holidays without weight gain, identify who you are around the holidays. Are you the girl who has an easy time eating well during the meal, but can’t help but go crazy when the desserts come out? Are you the guy who starves himself all day so you can have everything when dinner rolls around? Are you the kid you were 30 years ago who has a personalized quart of eggnog in the fridge?
If you can figure out where it is most difficult for you to eat well, you can make a plan to be successful. Follow that plan, and not only do you get the reward of not gaining weight, but you get an amazing sense of accomplishment and control that you can feel great about while still having thoroughly enjoyed the holidays.
Here are my top 4 tips to avoid holiday weight gain:
1. Have a partner
Tell someone who you know has your back, that you’re working on your weight and what you plan to do to get through a tough holiday meal. “I’m going to keep a glass of water in my hand and not eat anything fried.” Say your version of that to your friend, and you’re more likely to do it.
2. Don’t deprive yourself
Not eating all day long so you can eat more later, or skipping your favorite apple pie altogether, will lead to feelings of deprivation. That sounds pretty awful and can trigger you to overdo it later.
Before your event or meal, fill up on fiber-rich vegetables and a little healthy fat or protein. Think healthy foods like crudites and hummus, a salad with a couple spoonfuls of avocado or a cup of veggie chili. You’ll eat less when you get to the main event, have more time to socialize, and have the amazing ability to slow down and savor your slice of pie.
3. To booze or not to booze
Make sure you’re well-hydrated with good old-fashioned water and you are not thirsty when you hit the partayyyyy. Delaying the alcohol and deciding to drink less will help you make better food decisions, save you some empty calories and keep you from feeling so lousy that you don’t make it to the gym in the morning.
Booze can also interrupt your shut eye and you need those zzzz’s to keep your immune system strong and defend you against fatigue-related eating. You’ll be more apt to grab a healthy breakfast the next morning rather than a bacon, egg, and cheese croissant.
4. Out of sight, out of your mouth
When you are at a party, position yourself far away from the food as much as possible. If you’re next to the cheese tray, you’re more likely to eat some than if it was across the room.
If you have leftovers from your dinner party, buy to-go containers and send Uncle Joe’s famous potato pie home with the friend who complimented it. This will ensure you don’t make it a midnight snack. Savor the celebratory moment then look forward to eating your special holiday meal again next year (not a few hours later)!
There you go. Put this plan in place in your Nutritious Life. You can give yourself a little mantra to keep your plan in the front of your brain from Halloween until Valentine’s Day, so it helps you get through smoothly.
“I am looking forward to my pie tomorrow” or “green means go” (meaning eat the green beans, peppers, and cucumber slices) will keep you focused and positive.
Happy healthy, weight stable YOU this holiday season.
The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.
Want a sneak peek inside the program?
Get FREE access to some of the core training materials that make up our signature program – Become a Nutrition Coach.Get Access