Health Tips to Help you Not Gain Weight During the Holidays

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • Let's face it, it's very easy to add a few extra pounds during the Christmas celebrations with so much food and drink surrounding you. 


    In addition to this, the festive spirit tends to erode whatever discipline you maintained throughout the rest of the year.


    Fortunately, the holiday season doesn't have to automatically equal weight gain...


    Here are 5 ways to avoid holiday weight gain this year:



    1. Take some exercise

    Apart from the fact that exercise burns calories, keeping up your normal workout routine will help you stay on track long-term, rather than completely falling off the wagon, so to speak.

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    Moderate aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, or cycling are great choices, but don't forget to add some strength training exercises to your routine, too. When you build muscle you really amp up the calories burned.


    Just remember exercise doesn't have to be painful to be beneficial. You should go at your own pace, and slow down if you feel out of breath. But do try to beat your own records each time, to make sure you are progressing. For example, 1 extra minute on the bike, 5 more reps with the weights, 2 more squats than yesterday.


    A great way to get some exercise squeezed in during the busy holiday season is to go for a walk with a friend or family member, who you haven't seen in a while. This way, you get a chance to chat and catch up on each other's lives, and also come back feeling refreshed and invigorated. 


    2. Don't forget about moderation

    It's okay to enjoy the great food, deserts, and treats that go with the holidays, just try to keep your portion sizes within reasonable limits.


    Smaller portion will allow you to enjoy the full range of holiday fare, while keeping your caloric intake to a minimum. This even includes desserts, check out last weeks article with a recipe for Cranberry Upside-Down Cake.


    For large celebrations it's also a good idea to eat a small snack beforehand, so that you won't be so tempted to overindulge.


    3. Choose the healthiest options

    If you're faced with a large feast, choose the lowest fat and lowest calorie options from the table. The best way to do this is to fill up on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, then have a small spoonful of 1 or 2 higher calorie foods, which you particularly enjoy.


    If there are foods you really don't enjoy so much, don't waste the calories on them.


    4. Limit your alcohol intake

    Many people choose to imbibe a little more often than usual during the holiday season. You just need to keep in mind that alcoholic beverages contain large amounts of calories, and the more you drink the less likely to you are to be disciplined enough to stick with your healthy meal plan.


    If you decide to drink alcohol, try to steer clear of high calorie snacks which go hand-in-hand with drinks at parties. Also, limit your intake to 1 to 2 units per session, for health reasons and also to reduce your calorie intake.


    5. Bring healthy food to the party

  • If you've been asked to bring food with you to the party you can bring something healthy, such as a salad or fruit tray. This will ensure you'll have at least one healthy option at the table. 

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    It's not impossible to keep your weight under control during the holidays, but also to enjoy yourself at the same time. When it comes right down to it, it's all about making choices...


    Choose healthier options over junk food, keep your portion sizes in check, and maintain your exercise program. Then you can have a relaxing and enjoyable break with family and friends, without the added worries about your health.


    Here's to you and your family, I hope you have a great holiday season! 


    Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, and author of If you need help implementing a healthier lifestyle, check out her new guide, The Healthy Eating Handbook.

Published On: December 13, 2010