7 Reasonable Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

After eating two huge plates of lovely Christmas cuisine, you lay on the couch with your pants unbuttoned, feeling disgusted. You promised yourself you would not gorge yourself this year. Later that very same night, you return to the leftovers for another round, vaguely remembering four hours ago when you swore off food forever. Again, you return to the couch, this time pyjama pants untied, sick to your stomach, trying to estimate the number of calories you have consumed in the last twelve hours and how many hours of treadmill you will have to endure to burn off even a ¼ of what you’ve put in your mouth.


You watch TV and see the Christmas ads. Ads that should bring joy about the upcoming holiday, however, deliver thoughts of horror. You dread the parties, the cocktails, the appetisers, the desserts, the thoughtful gifts of cookies and cakes. The enjoyment of the holidays is erased by realising your willpower will once again be tested and likely be conquered by tables full of tasty treats. The depression sets in and you return for yet another mince pie, thinking to yourself why do I do this to every year?


This scenario is all too familiar. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. Holidays are a time to gather with family and friends. To appreciate the things you have and enjoy new things you may get from Santa. Jingle bells and menorahs should not signify the disappearance of going to the gym and saying goodbye to a diet. Below are seven tips to help bolster willpower and avoid unwelcome weight gain this holiday season.

  1. Donate sweet gifts. If a co-worker gives you a basket full of cookies or other goodies sure to test your limits, donate it to your local food bank. Can’t find a food bank close to your home? Give the basket away to a friend with a speedy metabolism that can eat anything, just make sure the friend and the co-worker do not know each other.
  2. Avoid taking advantage of the open bar. One mixed drink can have as many as 300 calories in it. Not to mention, getting tipsy leads to talking oneself into a second helping of pecan pie. The best case scenario? Enjoy 1-2 glasses of red wine. You are still partaking in the fun, but doing it sensibly.
  3. Allow yourself one dessert. Refusing a small slice of pie at a party on Saturday can lead to overdoing at your next gathering on Sunday. We have a way of justifying such actions in our heads and thus overeating, causing a vicious cycle. So accept a reasonable serving of dessert and enjoy it!
  4. Bake, but don’t take. The holidays are a great time to gather with friends and family to make scrumptious baked goods. Baking can also be very trying for the old willpower. A taste of dough here, a couple of nuts there. Pretty soon, your 1000 calories in the hole and really didn’t enjoy a minute of it. It’s best to savour one cookie of your choosing and give the rest away.
  5. Bring something healthy to your holiday office luncheon. Office lunch parties are a great time to hang out with co-workers but beware of the buffet tables. Try bringing a beautiful salad or veggie platter with hummus. This way you know there will be a healthy option to enjoy. Get your co-workers eating healthier too.
  6. Keep up with the gym. The holiday season is hard on a daily routine. Between shopping, wrapping, partying, cleaning, etc, it’s difficult to budget that extra time for working out. However, not allocating that time for you can lead to additional holiday stress. Try as much as possible to leave your workout schedule in place. If you have to miss a night at the gym, try to make it up the next morning. You will feel better in the end.
  7. One mistake does not ruin everything. This tip is the most vital. If you have too much dessert one night, all is not lost. It is not a license to splurge for the rest of the holiday season and get back on the wagon after New Year’s. If you have an overindulgent night, start fresh the next morning.

The holidays are a time for enjoying the people you love. For buying cinnamon spice-scented candles and gingerbread body wash. The sight of Christmas cards should not result in overwhelming fear or a trip to the attic to bring out your “fat jeans.” Take in special moments with family and friends. Splurge on a non-caloric gift for yourself like perfume or new gym clothes. Embrace the holiday season and avoid falling to the couch, pants unbuttoned, cursing your grandma’s too good to resist mince pies. Happy Holidays!

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