10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (Illustrated with Puppy Pictures)

The holidays are a stressful time and for many, there is a great sense of relief when they’re finally over. That relief can quickly turn to horror, however, when stepping on the scale for the first time post-holidays. The holidays are filled with eggnog, sweets, finger foods and big meals at every turn. It’s really no surprise that many women pack on a few pounds by  the time all is said and done. So how can you keep that post-holiday relief from turning into post-holiday horror? It’s not as difficult as you may think.

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10: Stop eating when you feel full.

This one seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? It’s just logical. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to do. Whether the food is just too tasty or you have an overzealous friend or family member shoveling food on your plate, stopping when you’re full just doesn’t always happen. This is why nearly every sitcom ever made has featured at least one post-holiday meal scene in which everyone sits around with their pants unfastened. All the same, you need to stick to your guns with that overzealous relative. You need to listen to your stomach when it tells you enough is enough. The best way to gain weight over the holidays is to eat more than your body needs. That delicious slice of pie will be just as delicious if you only have one.

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09: Put the fork down.

This one always sounded a little ridiculous to me until I actually gave it a shot. Now I swear by it. Pace yourself by putting your fork down after every bite you take. You’ll be more in control of how much you eat this way. If you eat quickly, you’ll take longer to feel full. If you eat slowly, you’ll feel full off less food. I couldn’t believe this trick actually worked but it really does. Putting your fork down also gives you a moment to enjoy what you’re eating so of course that’s a big benefit as well.

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08: Don’t go crazy with the sweets.

This one can be difficult, especially for those with a sweet tooth and unfortunately, I can’t really give you any tips or tricks to work this one out. You know yourself better than anyone else. Now’s the time to get honest about your eating habits. You basically have two options if you want to watch your weight while still indulging in sweet holiday treats.

  • Option One: Try a little bit of everything but don’t eat a full portion of anything.
  • Option Two: Stick to one serving of one thing.

If you are the kind of person that can’t stop at one bite (there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m that kind of person myself) then it’s better to limit yourself to one serving of one sweet treat and stick to it regardless of how yummy everything else looks. If you have a little more self control and can convince yourself to stop after one bite, you can try sampling more options. This is dangerous territory. Only you can choose which option is right for you.

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07: Watch the wine.

For many, alcohol and the holidays go hand in hand but if you want to avoid holiday weight gain, you really need to watch what you drink. Alcohol really packs on the pounds but limiting how much you drink is about more than just the weight you’ll gain from the alcohol itself. Alcohol impairs judgement. It’s much harder to watch what you eat if you have indulged a little more than you should have. It’s really just common sense.

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06: The food is great but so is the company.

Instead of focusing all your attention on your holiday feasts, focus on your friends and family members as well. Don’t allow yourself to think food is the star of the show because it isn’t. You can still have a great holiday without getting belt-bustingly full at every meal. Take the time around the dinner table to talk to the people you’re eating with. Find out what they’ve been up to since the last time you spoke. Share funny stories. Laugh and enjoy yourself. You’ll not only enjoy yourself but you’ll also limit how much you eat – win win.

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05: Bring something healthy with you.

If you’re not sure there will be a healthy option at a party, bring one of your own. Make something tasty you know you’ll enjoy but make sure you bring enough for everyone. You probably won’t be the only person at the party interested in avoiding holiday weight gain and if you make something tasty, there’s a good chance everyone will be having some. You don’t want to be telling people they can’t enjoy your snack because hey, holidays are all about sharing. Fresh fruit and veggie trays can be a great option everyone will enjoy that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to make. If you’re making something for the dinner table, consider a leafy salad with a diet friendly dressing.

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04: Be careful with buffet style dinners.

I love buffet style dinners but boy, can they be hard on the waistline. That doesn’t have to be the case. Follow these two simple rules and you should be able to keep your meal in check.

  1. Don’t stack your food.
  2. Use the smallest plate.

When you take a new food from the buffet, make sure you have room for it on your plate. Don’t just pile it on on top of something else. In other words, all your food should be placed on bare plate space, not on top of another kind of food – unless, of course, it’s gravy or a sauce of some kind. By designating a spot on your plate for each different kind of food, you’re automatically limiting your portions. Using a small plate limits your portions further. Even if you go back for seconds, you’ll still be eating less than if you’d piled your plate up the first time around.

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03: Keep track of the finger foods.

Most holiday events will feature trays of assorted finger foods laid out around the room for guests to enjoy and it can be hard to not indulge in these trays a little too much. I am a sucker for a good meat and cheese tray so I always find this one tricky. A little trick I learned is to use toothpicks or paper wrappings (in the case of candy or sweets) to keep track of exactly what I’ve eaten. Set a limit for yourself the moment you see what has been laid out and stick to it all night long. It’s also a good idea to gravitate toward the healthier choices like fresh veggies – another of my holiday favorites. Your waistline will that you for it.

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02: Don’t show up for parties/meals on an empty stomach.

Now, this one may not make sense at first, but allow me to explain. Before you head out to your holiday event, have a light, nutritious and low fat snack. Raw fruit or veggies can be a great option. Finish your snack and head out. When you arrive, you’ll be less likely to munch away on any snack trays that have been set out for guests and you’ll have less of an appetite to gorge yourself on the delicious holiday feast that has been prepared. The benefit here should be obvious. Your favorite holiday treats are probably loaded with fat, salt and other things that will expand your waistline. While you’ll still be able to partake, you’ll be less likely to overindulge.

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01: Take an after dinner walk.

If you live within walking distance of the party you’re attending, consider walking to and from the event. Since you’ve limited how much alcohol you’ll be drinking and taking it easy on the food you’ve eaten, that shouldn’t be a terribly big deal. It may take a little while to get in the habit of walking if you’re not particularly active so why not start right away. Start taking a walk after dinner every night. Each night, try to walk a little further. Take the stairs as often as possible. If you have the ability, walk to and from work. In other words, just get in the habit of using your feet. It’ll make walking to and from the party a little easier on you.

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