A Holiday Survival Guide

2 Dec
The Christmas tree is lit, “All I Want for Christmas” seems to be on repeat on the radio, and you’re starting to dread the arrival of your January credit card bill. Not to mention tasty temptations like Christmas cookies, candies and egg nog are out in abundance!   To quote my favorite holiday movie, Christmas Vacation…”It’s the holidays, and we’re all in misery!”
I feel the holidays should be spent with family and friends sharing in the Christmas spirit…not worrying about money, presents and holiday weight gain!  Research shows that average weight gain over the holiday season is around 1-2 pounds for a normal weight person.  For overweight and obese people, holiday weight gain tends to be a little more, up to about 5 pounds.  While fear of weight gain tends to be dramatized and 1-2 or even 5 pounds may not seem like a lot, over several years these pounds add up to an unhealthy weight and increase risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease.  As with most things, the best thing we can do is to be prepared and have a plan to combat this dreaded weight gain!

Check out my top 5 tips for enjoying holiday parties and events while maintaining a healthy weight:

1.  Just Say No! When your hostess with the mostess offers seconds, don’t feel guilted into taking them!  Simply compliment her (or him) on how delicious everything was and how much you enjoyed it.  Also saying no to a few parties or events throughout the month is a surefire way to minimize stress and avoid holiday burnout.  

2. BYO…Healthy options! If you are always underwhelmed by the number healthy side dishes available at a party, bring your own.  This is the smartest way to ensure you can make healthy choices and stay on track with your eating.  It could be as simple as a veggie platter or fruit salad and has the added benefit of making you look like an extremely thoughtful guest!  

3. Be smart about your surroundings.   Standing right next to the buffet or snack table will inevitably lead to mindless snacking.  Focus less on food and more on socializing with family, friends or coworkers by engaging in conversation.  Set yourself up for success by choosing smaller appetizer plates over larger dinner plates.  Decide ahead of time which of your favorite foods are “worth” indulging in and treat yourself to small portions.

4. Eat as you would on any other day.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is to not eat all day in order to save calories for later.  While this sounds like it could work, going to a holiday party feeling ravenous can quickly lead to overeating.  Follow your usual eating pattern and make sure to have a protein-rich meal prior to party-time!

5. Keep (or start) moving!  Schedule exercise in around your holiday parties and events.  There’s no need to wait for New Year’s Resolutions to get active.  Planning your exercise in advance will prevent you from falling off track during the hectic holiday season.  Enlist a friend or co-worker to help you stick to your commitments!

And one bonus tip:

1. Move on!  If you indulge (or overindulge) this holiday season, acknowledge it and get over it.  There’s no reason to beat yourself up or continue to sabotage your eating by dwelling on it.  I always like the analogy of getting a flat tire.  If you’re driving along and get a flat, you wouldn’t get out of the car and slash the other 3 good tires, right?  No! You fix the one problem tire and get back out on the road! 


Here’s to a HEALTHY and Happy Holiday season!
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