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How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (And Still Have Fun!)

by Aunt Becky on December 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

If there's one thing to be said about the holidays, it's that EVERYTHING is in excess.

From tinny Christmas music and festive banners at the stores to the scads of holiday parties we're all invited to -- and, of course, who can forget the food? Loads of cookies, candies, and treats as far as the eye can see. It's easy to get sucked into the mindset to eat all you want because "the holidays come once a year," but that's a great way to ruin your diet.

So here are some tips for avoiding putting on the holiday pounds while STILL having a good time!

1) The first rule of thumb when attending any party that features one or two courses, usually appetizers and desserts, is to eat your dinner before you arrive. That way, you're not chasing down the server with those delicious meatballs on a stick that are loaded with all kinds of unhealthy (yet delicious) ingredients.

2) Stick with the veggie plate. Most parties that have appetizers offer one. It may look a little pathetic in the middle of all those mini stuffed hot dogs, but that's where you should get the bulk of your dinner (if eating ahead isn't an option).

3) If your party lacks a fruit or veggie option, load up on water during the party. It helps you feel fuller and less likely to chow down when you're saving those calories for some cookies.

4) Avoid telling yourself that it's okay to overeat because "the holidays come once a year." That's a surefire way to end up a size bigger. Plan ahead accordingly and give yourself a little - not a lot - of leeway when it comes to holiday goodies.

5) If you're going to a pot-luck gathering, cook a dish that's low in calories and big on taste so that you're certain you have something to eat that's loaded with fat.

6) Pretend that your weekly calorie intake is like your checkbook. If you splurge one day, you're broke for the rest of the week. Same goes for food - if you're going to have one really amazing meal, make sure that the rest of the week, you stick to eating healthily.

7) While it's important to be conscious of what you're putting into your body, do allow yourself to indulge a little. If you eat veggies and water for "dinner," have a cookie! Or if you prefer savory, dig into the appetizers and ditch the baked goods!

8) And if you go overboard with the delicious holiday treats? Remember that it happens. To everyone. Don't beat yourself up over it! Just use it as an opportunity to do better next time.

What are some of the ways YOU handle dieting during the holidays?


Image via OakleyOriginals/Flickr

Filed Under: eating habits, eating healthy


  • carly
    -- Nonmember comment from


    December 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM
    Lol. "Something to eat that's loaded with fat."
  • tuffy...


    December 9, 2012 at 6:44 PM
    I don't eat grain or white sugar anymore, at all. I eat full fat, organic goodies, and I've lost 51 pounds in less than six months. Granted, I've been treating my thyroid, but the weight didn't come off until I stopped eating ALL grains. I eat honey, maple syrup, that natural Indian sugar that I can't remember the name of (someone help?), and stevia. I was eating all organic, whole foods, and no white sugar before, but stopping grains was the key. I don't eat pastry or pie, but I had pumpkin custard and chocolate mousse (made with organic chocolate and raw cream!) at Thanksgiving. I'll make brittles and toffees and custards for everyone this Christmas, and by next Christmas, I should be able to have some teff, spelt and rye goodies. No conventional wheat ever again, though.
  • B1Bomber


    December 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Moderation is always the key. Eating dessert is not going to ruin your diet if your day to day intake involves the things it should along with some exercise.  If you're running a couple miles a day or swimming or doing aerobics or whatever, you can 'waste' calories on appetizers and desserts. What's the fun in life if you always sit munching on plain celery sticks instead of indulging in the homemade queso?

  • jessi...


    December 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    in moderation

  • mommy...


    December 18, 2012 at 8:58 PM
    Good list
  • kellynh


    January 4, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Moderation is a great word!!

  • dusky...


    January 4, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I just take small portions of the treats and make sure to have fruits and veggies.

  • lalas...


    January 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    The holidays are the only time of year that I usually splurge on food.  

  • count...


    January 5, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I try to do it all in moderation.  If there is a table full of sweets, I pick just one to have and stick with that. 

  • sukainah


    January 6, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    These are good suggestions.  We didn't celebrate the holidays, so there was no extra treats in the house.

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