Keep the Weight Off this Holiday Season

If there is one constant in the month of December, it is holiday parties.

Work parties, family parties, neighborhood parties, ugly-sweater parties, church parties–am I missing any? If your calendar looks anything like mine, you’re going to be celebrating Christmas/New Year’s every weekend between now and the middle of January. And some weekends, I’ll be celebrating multiple times.

While spending time with friends and family this time of year is awesome, Christmas parties typically mean one thing–there will be food!

There’s the finger food that you just keep snacking on every time you walk by the table.

And then there’s the cookies.

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Image by rochelle hartman via Flickr.

There are the sugar cookies in shapes of stockings, trees, and ornaments. There are the peanut butter gimmicks with the Hershey’s kiss pressed in the middle. There’s the buckeyes and the candy cane cookies. Gingerbread-men and the crushed corn flake wreathes with the green food coloring and red cinnamon things resembling a bow.

And you have to try at least one of each kind. Or is that just me?

With all of these parties and all of the food, how can anyone really hope to make it to January without gaining any weight?

You can’t do it by accident. But with a little thought and the framework of a plan, you can prevent (or at least minimize) the holiday weight gain that instigates so many New Year’s Resolutions.

Tips for Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

  • Pre-Eat–This may sound contradictory, but eating BEFORE heading out to a party is actually a great way to keep from overeating. If you aren’t feeling hungry when you get to the party, you’ll sample a few things and be content.
  • Workout Challenge–There are 20 days left in December. Challenge yourself to complete a certain amount/time/distance of exercise for the rest of the month. Set a goal to exercise for 20 hours for the rest of the month. Challenge yourself to running/walking 50 miles. I have a friend that has a goal of rowing 100,000 meters during the month of December. If she manages to do that, she can more than afford to eat a few cookies.
  • Skip the Normal Snacks–Potato chips, chex mix, chicken wings, crackers with cheese. What do all of these things have in common? The have nothing to do with the holidays yet seem to be a staple at many holiday parties. We end up eating these things that are less than healthy, and we can eat them any time of the year. Why not skip these “everyday” foods, and instead eat some of the holiday treats that are only really available in December?
  • Don’t Drink Too Many Calories–Stop me when this sounds familiar. Saturday you’re hitting the mall to do some shopping, getting home in the afternoon to shower and change before heading to one or two parties that night. Translation–Starbucks in the morning, Coke at the mall, margarita (or two) for lunch, Gatorade when you get home, and egg nog/wine/beer at the party. That easily adds up to over 1,000 calories you drank for the day. I’m fine with the egg nog or wine, but opt for black coffee and water during the day and you’ll knock hundreds of calories off of your total for the day.
  • Be Aware–Perhaps the best way to keep from gaining weight over the holiday is just to be aware of the fact that it’s really easy to gain weight over the holidays. By being consciously aware of this fact, you are actually more likely to limit your calorie consumption and increase your physical activity on a regular basis. And really, being mindful of your intake and intentional in your exertion gives you the best chance to beat the bulge for the remainder of 2013.

Enjoy yourself at the parties you’ll be attending this year. Laugh, catch up with old friends, and have fun.

But be smart.

If you can keep from gaining weight these last 3 weeks of 2013, you’ll be setting yourself up for a happy and healthy 2014!

What is Your Favorite Trick for Avoiding the Holiday Weight Gain?

What Cookie Can You Not Say No To?

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2 Comments

Filed under Lifestlye

2 responses to “Keep the Weight Off this Holiday Season

  1. Pingback: 4 Tips to Keep the Weight Off This Holiday Season | Fitness Solution

  2. Pingback: A Healthy Holiday (and a Happy New Year!) | Healthy Options Buffalo Blog

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