Half a dozen ways to avoid weight gain over the holidays

The holiday season isn’t kind to people who are trying to lose weight — or even just trying to maintain a holding pattern. But don’t give up hope. I’ve got some strategies to avoid tipping the scales before New Year’s Eve, and I’d like to share them with you. Especially if you’ve been a victim of the “COVID 15.”

I’m on a mission to lose several pounds. Maybe you’re in the same boat.

So, in spite of the extra weight I’ve gained from sticking closer to home all spring and summer, I’d like to fit into at least one pair of jeans by the time next spring arrives. But it’s not going to be easy.

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Sure, Thanksgiving is behind us. But here comes Christmas — and all the cookies and cakes. And Chanukah (fried potato latkes for a week, drenched in sour cream). Obviously, winging it is not going to work, so I decided to look for guidance — and found it.

Some of these tips are ones you may have heard of before, but maybe you were just too busy to stick to them. But, with everything else feeling so very different these days — and having extra time at home — I’m thinking it might be easier for us to slip into a new routine.

Who couldn’t use something like that, right about now?

6 tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner success

1. Get moving. Sure, the gym is closed. Sure, it’s getting colder outside. But, let’s face it, I tell myself. It was sitting in one place for months that got you here in the first place. Time to find ways to get moving.

“‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,” says Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian and former president of the American Dietetic Association.

By burning off calories before you indulge in those holiday foods, you’re creating a calorie deficit, a state where you’re burning more calories than you consume. That’s the ticket to weight loss.

Here are some ways to get active:

  • Walk outdoors. Find a walking buddy so you have an accountability partner.
  • The internet is full of free exercise videos. Pick one that appeals to you, and cross off a day on your calendar every time you stick to it.
  • Try yoga. It may not seem so strenuous, but it does build muscle, which helps burn calories.

2. Eat breakfast. A lot of people think that it makes sense to “save up” their calories for that big holiday dinner. But eating a small breakfast that includes protein and carbs is actually a better way to have control over your appetite.

Try an egg and a slice of whole wheat toast, or a bowl of whole grain cereal and low-fat milk. That way, you’re not starving when the holiday meal is served and can have more control over what you eat.

3. Police your portions. When you’re looking at all those platters of food on the holiday table, select foods that you can’t have any other time of the year.

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If you keep your portions small, you can eat all your favorites and still come out OK. And resist the temptation to go back for seconds. Eat slowly and savor each bite. Chances are, you won’t be hungry once you’re done.

4. Be realistic. You’ll probably be eating foods you wouldn’t normally eat on a weight loss eating plan, even in small portions (think yams with marshmallows). Make it your goal to maintain your weight during the holidays and not gain weight, rather than to lose weight.

5. Go easy on the alcohol. Remember, the calories you drink can add up just as quickly as those you eat. A glass of wine with dinner is fine. Also, enjoy some sparkling water, which helps fill and hydrate you.

6. Focus on family and friends. Sure, the food is amazing. But the holiday is more about the people you’re with. “The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the buffet,” says Susan Finn, chair of the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition.

One final suggestion: Pay as much attention to the people you’re with and listening to them as you do to those amazing-looking desserts, and you’ll get to the New Year without any extra weight to unload… and probably have a more memorable Thanksgiving and Christmas to boot!


10 tips for a thinner Thanksgiving — Web MD

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.