10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

By on December 27, 2014

The holidays are notorious for making people stumble. When you’re at home you can control the ingredients and portions, but when you combine savory and sweet food temptations with peer pressure it is a recipe for disaster. These 10 tips can help you avoid holiday weight gain at your next dinner party or other holiday party:

  1. Make special requests. Tell your host about any food sensitivities you might have. Most will be more than happy to accommodate your request.
  2. Don’t skip meals on the big party day. Instead, eat early and eat often. Keep the fire of your metabolism burning all day, rather than slowing it down during periods of “mini-starvation.” Always have breakfast, eat every 3 to 4 hours, and try to schedule meals at the same time every day. Your metabolism will work faster and more efficiently. You will lose weight, have more energy and feel better.
  3. Eat before you go. I will often eat before I go to an event. I am happier, have more fun, and can enjoy talking and interacting if I don’t have to focus on eating.
  4. Load up on real foods first. Stick with whole fruits, vegetables, non-gluten grains, healthy fats and wild-caught fish or other animal protein. These foods signal your brain to stop eating and you’re less likely to reach for sugary processed foods and dessert.
  5. Watch out for sugar pushers. Every family has one of these. They give you a guilt trip about not trying their special pie, persuading you to “Live a little.” If you must sample their creation, having a few bites will usually appease them. Just be careful that a few bites don’t become two pieces.
  6. Make family and friends, not food, your focus. The holidays are about giving and celebrating with those we love most. Food usually becomes the center of attention during these social situations. Remember to shift your focus on what really matters rather than making a beeline for the buffet.
  7. Watch your alcohol. Among its problems, alcohol depletes mood-boosting B vitamins1, is a brain toxin and slows down brain metabolism. It also makes you uninhibited around food.  If you drink at parties, stick with a dry wine or tequila. Whatever you do, avoid eggnog and other sugary alcoholic drinks. Also remember to stay hydrated during the event.
  8. Just relax and eat. Eat things that nourish you such as meat, fish or chicken. Ask for extra vegetables or a second salad. Or just do your best and relax and have fun – you can always get back to your routine in the morning.
  9. Don’t skimp on sleep. Sleep often takes a backseat during holiday festivities, but getting sufficient amounts becomes even more important among what can sometimes become stressful, frenzied days. Take a little “holiday” in the two hours before bed. Creating a sleep ritual, a special set of little things you do before bed to help ready your system physically and psychologically for sleep, can guide your body into a deep healing sleep.
  10. Workout before you go. Exercise is the only thing besides eating breakfast that has been correlated with long-term weight loss.   You don’t have to exercise to exercise. Instead of going to the gym, try going for a brisk walk, ice skating, playing with your kids or going for a hike.