Nutrition Tips Weight Loss

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

holiday weight gain

Did you overindulge a bit on Thanksgiving?  Me too.  And odds are we’ll both do it again (and again) over the next few weeks.  But that doesn’t mean we’re destined for weight gain or poor health, it just means we need to strategize a little.  Here’s how I’m going to enjoy the holiday season without gaining weight:

  1. Get moving. It’s always important to exercise, but it’s especially helpful during the holiday season. I like to rev up my workout routine in November and December, either by adding an extra day of exercise every week or adding an extra 15 minutes to each workout.  Preventing weight gain is just a matter of math — if you’re eating more, you have to burn more.
  2. Focus on veggies. After an indulgent Thanksgiving weekend, it’s time to pack meals and snacks with produce.  Snack on in-season apples, frozen berries in plain yogurt, or veggies with dip.  Make meals that are mostly veggies with some lean protein, heart-healthy fat (oils, nuts, avocado), and whole grains sprinkled in.
  3. Stock up on healthy food. Don’t skip trips to the grocery store during these next few weeks.  Stick to your shopping routine as much as possible, so you can make sure you have healthy food on-hand for meals and snacks.
  4. Eat regular meals. Don’t starve yourself or skip meals to “prepare” for a big binge.  You’ll be too hungry to make good choices and you’ll mess with your metabolism.  Instead, eat regular healthy meals (see #’s 2 and 3) so you’re not ravenous when it’s time for a holiday meal.
  5. Ditch the all-or-none thinking. Some people approach holiday eating with the idea that they’ll just let loose and then get healthy again in January.  But it’s much easier to stay on track than it is to get back on track after a month-long stretch of indulgence.  So after you splurge on a meal or at a party, don’t worry about it, just get back to your normal routine right away.  One fumble can’t ruin your diet or health, but a long series of fumbles can.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  • Mary
    November 30, 2013 at 12:24 am

    This time of year is for spending with family, but it can still be active! We always take the dogs out for long walks on Christmas day and Boxing Day when we’re all together. Instead of going out for a work Christmas meal we’ve done work ice skating in the past. I found that much more fun!

  • Amelia Winslow
    November 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Such a great point, Mary! Exercising more doesn’t have to be a chore – it can be woven into family or other social time pretty easily!

  • claire
    November 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Great post! About 4 years ago I decided to run a 8k on Thanksgiving. I had started running and thought why not? Since then, every other year when I am in Chicago for Thanksgiving with my family I run a race. I have now added my husband, cousin and push my son in the running stroller, even if it is 25 degrees out. (he is bundled up and loves it!)

    I also try to remind myself that we live in an age while yes there are celebrations, there are very few foods that I cannot make or have at any other time of year. So I try to just eat a normal size plate of food, then enjoy my carmel apple pie I make only at thanksgiving. I just have one slice and joy it. I also brought roasted root veggies, granted I added bacon to it but overall its a fairly healthy dish. I left thanksgiving feeling satisfied and not stuffed, which is nice. Today I got back in the workout routine. I love holidays but I try to remind myself that Thanksgiving is the start of a 4-6 week long indulgent season of mostly stuff that is just bulk produced sweets and treats. I will try something I only get that time of year or something homemade but I try to avoid most of the other stuff, not always sucessful but I try!

  • Amelia Winslow
    December 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Claire, this is such wise advice! I love everything you said. I’m always telling my husband (as he piles his plate with a huge second serving of whatever we’re eating on a random day) – “Remember, we get to eat again tomorrow, too!”

  • Sara Tetreault
    December 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Excellent reminders, Amelia! My trick is to eat a salad (full of substantial greens with a homemade dressing) before we go to a holiday party. While all the finger food looks good, I’m only a tasting it rather than making an entire meal out of it.
    Happy holidays!!

  • Amelia Winslow
    December 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Great tip, Sara! Otherwise it’s so easy to go overboard!

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