10 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

10 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays Without Gaining Weight - Photo of Christmas Cookies

For those of us who have been working hard to lose weight, the holidays are a maze of temptations. It may seem like an impossible feat, but there are ways through it. In this post, I’ll share 10 tips for enjoying the holidays without gaining weight.

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Photo by Irene Kredenets on Unsplash

Reset Your Expectations

The holidays are a time for celebration, don’t take the fun out of them by depriving yourself and then feel badly about yourself when you fail. It’s unlikely you’ll keep losing weight over the holidays. Instead, consider switching to “maintenance mode” and focus on not gaining weight over the holidays. You can resume your serious weight loss efforts again after the new year.  

Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry

We’re often tempted to skip breakfast and lunch so we can indulge at dinner. But ladies, this rarely works! By the time dinner rolls around, you’re starving and will be extremely tempted to over indulge. Instead, keep plenty of low-carb, nutritious snacks on hand and keep eating regular meals. Most importantly, eat the same balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates that you normally do. This will help keep you satiated throughout the day and it will be easier to make intentional decisions.  

Watch Your Portion Sizes

Just because there is a smorgasbord on the table, it doesn’t mean you have to try everything. Try to put the same amount of food on your plate that you normally eat, rather than overfilling it. And, if you don’t absolutely love something, just skip that dish!

Don’t Graze, Use a Plate

During the holidays it seems like food is everywhere. If you’re hungry, or simply tempted by some delicious treats, grab a plate and be mindful of how much you’re loading up.

Continue Logging Your Food in a Food App

It’s easy to underestimate or “forget” all the things you’re nibbling on. If you normally use a food tracking app (highly recommended), continue doing it. Sometimes, it’s like we’re embarrassed to let the food tracker know what we did, so we don’t log at all. It’s like mentally making it “disappear.” Just to be clear, this doesn’t actually work 🙂 Logging your food helps you have a realistic picture of the situation, and it keeps you accountable to yourself, as well.

Extra Tip: Remember it takes approximately 3,500 extra calories to gain 1 pound.  During the holidays, it’s very easy to eat 3,500 extra calories over the course of a week, especially if you’re also drinking festive beverages.

Plan Ahead

There are lots of ways to plan ahead. If you know you’re going to a restaurant, look up the menu beforehand and plan what you’re going to order. If you know you’re going to a party or holiday event, see if you can figure out what’s going to be on the menu and think about what you’d like to eat. If you can’t do either of these things, consider having something healthy to eat before you go so you don’t arrive hungry only to realize there’s nothing that fits your eating plan.

Don’t Forget About Alcohol

Alcohol can add substantial calories to your meal. Read my post about Holiday Cocktails That Won’t Ruin Your Eating plan for more information on how to make the best of this situation. Not only does alcohol add calories, it reduces your inhibitions. I’ll admit that this is a problem for me. I have a couple of drinks and suddenly all my willpower vanishes and I find myself ordering Tiff’s Treats. You might want to plan to have a few reasonable indulgences on hand if you’ll be drinking. It’s better to plan for a small indiscretion, than to lose all control.  

Use the Holidays as an Opportunity to Try New Things

I have a Pinterest Board of delicious looking healthy holiday foods that I’ve been meaning to try. Use the holidays as an opportunity to try one or two of these recipes. You’ll feel great about using moderation, and you might really enjoy the new recipes!

Engage Your Peeps

Your friends and family are often your biggest supporters. Whether you’ve already lost a lot of weight or just starting out, they’ll be proud of you and help you with your goals. Let them know you’re trying to maintain your good progress and they just might make sure there are one or two things on the menu that fit your eating plan.

Unfortunately, not all friends and family are as supportive as we’d like.  So, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how you’ll handle the “Food Pushers.” Here are a few ideas:

  • Politely pass on what they’re offering and quickly redirect the conversation to another topic.
  • Embed something complimentary in your response. For example, “That looks amazing but I’m so full, I couldn’t possibly eat another bite!”
  • Have confidence in your ability to say “no, thanks” and also in your ability to be successful at exercising moderation over the holidays. It’s not impossible. You can do it!
  • Don’t overly explain why you don’t want to eat what they are offering. Often times we jump in with too much information about our diet, and it just makes things awkward.
  • When you’re offered something you don’t want to eat. Don’t hesitate in your response. If people see that you are struggling not to eat something, they think you actually want it, and it encourages them to continue offering.

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