6 Stay-Slim Holiday Strategies

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The holidays can be a great time to get caught up with family and friends, especially with all the parties and events taking place. It can also be an easy way to pack on extra weight with all those tempting holiday cocktails and hors d’oeuvres floating around. And even when dinner isn’t served at an event, it’s still highly likely that a decadent sweet treat will make an appearance.

Did you know that most people won’t ever lose their holiday weight gain? The average person gains about one pound during the holiday season. No need to fret though, because there are some steps you can take to avoid falling into the one-pound holiday trap.

To help prepare yourself before you head into the nutritional landmines of holiday parties and dinners, below are 6 simple steps you can take to avoid falling into a calorie nightmare, that way the only thing you gain are new memories with friends and loved ones – not unwanted pounds.

  1. Stay on schedule through the following:
    • With eating and exercise.
    • Morning walk or jog.
    • Afternoon stroll with family.
    • Have usual breakfast and protein-rich snack(s) if it’ll be hours before you eat.
  2. Plan ahead.
    • Anticipate how you’ll handle certain situations.
    • If pre-dinner nibbles are your downfall, grab a protein-rich snack before you head to the event.
    • Bring a (lightened-up) vegetable or salad so you you’ll have at least one healthy side dish option.
  3. Don’t go hungry.
    • Don’t starve yourself in anticipation of a big event!
    • Try to have something – even if it’s just a small snack – every four hours or so throughout the day.
    • Reach for foods high in protein and/or fiber that will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. Examples: snack-size cheese or protein bar if you’re out; shrimp cocktail or veggies with a dip made with Greek yogurt while preparing for a holiday dinner.
    • Grab a snack as you head out for an event, especially if it’s likely that dinner won’t be served for a few hours!
  4. Negotiate.
    • Be selective – think ahead to what’s really worth it to you. Treat yourself to just a few standout items that you unapologetically relish that are unique to the season.
    • Keep the emphasis on foods that are low in calories and good sources of appetite-quenching protein or fiber and/or they provide a lot of volume for few calories.
    • Lean proteins: shrimp cocktail, turkey, ham, pork loin
    • Veggies and salads (light on the dressing, of course)
    • Broth or tomato-based soups
    • Low-calorie beverages and cocktails (anything made with no-calorie mixers like water, club soda or diet soft drink)
    • Nearly everything else falls into the ‘negotiate’ category, with 400-plus calories per serving:
      • High-calorie starchy sides (think macaroni and cheese, dressings, stuffings and scalloped potatoes)
      • Sweets (pies, cheesecake, fudge)
      • Cocktails (brandy milk punch, daiquiris, eggnog)
  5. Check in.
    • Weighing yourself weekly or twice a week throughout the holidays can be a good reality check to see how well you’re balancing the indulgences of the season. But don’t torture yourself!
    • Keep in mind that more salt and carbs can lead to fluid retention and can be reflected on the scale the next day. Therefore, if you have multiple events in a row, you may want to wait a day or two before weighing yourself.
  6. Keep the focus on people.
    • If your resolve starts to weaken, remind yourself to take the focus off of food and turn it back to the people around you.
    • People are what’s really important, so spend your time and your energy really listening to what’s happening in the lives of your family and friends.

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