15 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Labor Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. These are just a few holidays in the United States where weight gain is always a possibility. Fortunately, you can keep these 15 tips in avoiding holiday weight gain and be happy about it.


But why stop with just the holidays? You can also apply these tips in everyday life! When the holidays come again, you have developed a backbone in resisting food temptations.


Reduce Calories in Recipes

One of the best ways to eat according to your diet is to cook the food yourself. You can make healthy substitutions and reduce calories this way, too. A few tips:

  • Substitute sugar with stevia, xylitol or erythritol
  • Replace butter with pumpkin puree, mashed banana, or applesauce
  • Add dried fruit, not chips, sprinkles, and candies
  • Flavor with vanilla, almond or peppermint extracts instead of sugar and butter
  • Lessen frying foods. Use non-oil cooking methods like grilling, steaming and broiling
  • Replace heavy cream with skim milk, Greek yogurt and low-fat cream
Reduce Calories in Recipes

Also, be wary of calories in processed liquids. Water is always the best choice. Sweetened beverages, soda, and cocktails contain more calories. If you want flavored water, just squeeze fresh lemon, lime and oranges into it.


Start Your Day with Exercise

When you exercise in the morning, you will enjoy several benefits. You will likely have a chipper mood resulting in better behavior throughout the day. Your body has so-called happy hormones that reduces the effect of physical stress.

You can also be less tempted by the sight of food and drinks. Your body will likely have fewer cravings for high sugar and fat foods.

Start Your Day with Exercise

Even just 15 minutes of jumping rope in the morning can do the trick. You can also maintain your fitness levels even with your busy schedule.


Get Your Weight Twice a Week

This is enough to stay on track yet not make sticking to a healthy diet a chore. You will be happy to see that you’re still within your healthy range, too.

Get Your Weight Twice a Week


Learn to Say “No”

Think of willpower as a muscle. The more you work at it, the stronger it gets. You will have a difficult time saying “no” to food temptations. But as you practice it, you will find that it becomes easier.

Learn to Say “No”

Just say “no” and mean it. You should also tell yourself “no” even when no offers of food have been made.


Avoid Calorie Banking

Cutting back on your meals and snacks may sound good in everyday situations. But in food-filled holidays, it isn’t such a good idea.

Avoid Calorie Banking

Even amidst the holiday festivities, be sure to eat three square meals and two light snacks a day. Your body will then be fed well instead of getting near-starvation levels. You will likely go on a binge when your body has been starved for several hours otherwise.


Eat Plenty of Potassium

Get more papayas, bananas, strawberries, kiwis and cantaloupes in your diet. These fruits are rich in potassium, a mineral that counterbalances sodium. You will feel less bloated and less likely to reach for the sweets.

Eat Plenty of Potassium


Smart Snacking

Keeping snacks out of sight in your home is easy. But this isn’t so in the office, mall and other people’s homes. You can also say “no” to them all the time or you can practice smart snacking. A few tips include:

Smart Snacking

Skip the snacks when you’re not hungry. You can avoid overeating, too. Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and nuts. You will feel fuller for longer with these food.


Watch Your Portion Sizes

You should be more mindful of the amount of food you eat during the holidays. You can easily overeat because everybody seems to be doing it, too. Your plate and glass may also be larger, too.

Watch Your Portion Sizes

Your best bets: Watch your portion sizes or measure your food. You can use a smaller plate and walk away from the buffet table.


Practice Mindful Eating

People are harried during the holiday season. This can result in multi-tasking, even during meals, and distracted dining. When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to overeat. For this reason, being a mindful eater is a must. Try these tips:

  • Focus on your food – its appearance, flavors and textures.
  • Turn off the electronics including television, radio and smartphone.
  • Chew your food thoroughly.
  • Eat slowly and allot time for eating.

You should also listen to your body’s signals. When you feel satisfied, you should stop eating. There’s always tomorrow, after all.


Focus on Fiber-rich Foods

Fiber contributes to a feeling of fullness in the stomach. This is because fiber takes a longer time to digest so your brain sends the signal of being full. You can add more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to your diet, too.



Add Protein for Balance

Holiday foods usually contain high levels of carbs but low levels of protein. This isn’t a good thing! Carbs contribute to weight gain, as is the case with white breads, cakes, and cookies. Protein, in contrast, promotes a feeling of fullness and builds muscle.

Add Protein for Balance

Protein also reduces hunger pangs resulting in reduced caloric intake. The macronutrient also increases metabolism, a must in effective weight management. Be sure to include 25-30 grams of protein in each meal. The best sources are lean meat, fish and poultry, as well as quinoa and beans.


Get Your Just Desserts

There’s no need to deprive yourself of desserts during the holidays. Just keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose your desserts wisely. If there are fruits, go for them.
  • Practice the three-bite rule. Get three small bites of a dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Drink plenty of water to wash down the sweets.
Get Your Just Desserts


Work on Your Willpower

Aside from saying “no” to food temptations, a strong willpower is a must in other situations. You will need it to overcome your reluctance to hit the exercise machines. You will find it useful when refusing another cocktail, too. An effective exercise in willpower is described here:

  • Place your thumb and fingers on your forehead.
  • Tap your fingers one at a time for 15-30 seconds on your forehead.
  • Tell yourself “Hold on” while tapping.
  • Go back to what you’re doing.
  • Wait for 15 minutes or so.
Work on Your Willpower

Your craving should be gone by then. Even if it isn’t, it’s intensity will probably decrease.


Get Your Stress Under Control

The holidays can be stressful with the shopping, cooking, and socializing activities. But don’t let the stress take over your life because:

  • It releases more cortisol, a stress-related hormone.
  • It increases your cravings for junk food.
Get Your Stress Under Control

Cortisol has been linked to greater food intake and, thus, weight gain. You’re likely to engage in emotional eating when under stress.


Get Plenty of Sleep

You may want to sleep when you’re dead during the holidays. But sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain and premature death!

Get Plenty of Sleep

Why? Sleep-deprived persons tend to be hungrier. They also tend to get less physical exercise and consume more food. Both are the result of an increase in hunger hormone level and decrease in metabolic rate.

Final Words

Gaining weight during the holidays doesn’t have to be your fate every year. You have to take control of your lifestyle habits and resist the temptation to binge. Your mind and body, your responsibility, your health!

Even during everyday situations, these weight management tips are still applicable. You should practice them on a daily basis so that the holidays are easier on your body.

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