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6 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Stress

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

family gathering

We're squarely in the season of over-indulgence. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are notorious diet-busters. If you are generally a healthy eater, some anxiety may come around the holidays, since 99 percent of holiday feasts might not make it on your "healthy meal" list.

So the pattern for many becomes eating what you want during the holidays, feeling guilty, and then making health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, or stop drinking, or join the gym in the new year. I'm here to tell you that plan (except for the guilt) is perfectly fine. Food is not the enemy, and as I focus on health and wellness, my clients having anxiety around food is not ideal at all. The key is knowing how to navigate these holiday get-togethers in an easy and stress-free way.

So here are 6 ways to avoid holiday party anxiety and limit that weight gain.

  1. Toss Out the "All In" or "Not In" Thoughts - that's a sure way to increase your anxiety levels. The mindset of either your going to consume everything in sight, or just push some lettuce around your plate will get your stress levels up. Head into the feast knowing you will eat and enjoy your time with family and friends.

  2. Get Up and Move - it is so important to get and remain active through the holidays; and everything counts - walking the dog, running out to do shopping/errands, dancing. Whatever method you choose, make sure you are burning some calories. Your best option is to choose a structured exercise plan, stick to it, and have fun. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, 4-5 days a week.

  3. Plan Your Menu - if you are hosting the festivities, you have some control over what is served (unless it's a potluck), and how it's prepared. Ensure that there are healthy yet tasty options for yourself and other guests who are on that healthy journey. Healthy may mean less fried, more baked, less sugar and salt, more natural herbs and seasonings, and fresh vegetable options.

  4. Feel Fi Sumtin' Sweet? (Have a Sweet Tooth?) - lay out some fresh fruits, or sugar free treats, but if you must - eat the pie! Just choose a dessert and eat that one dessert. There is no need to sample everything!

  5. Manage Alcohol Intake - Cheers, sip, and stop. I know it's easier said than done but that second and third drink aren't really that necessary. If you feel the need to raise a glass to toast the holidays, stop at that one drink. Another great idea is to prepare a delicious, non-alcoholic cocktail, or a fresh fruit smoothie so you wont feel like the odd one out when everyone else is walking around with a drink in their hand. Then there is always water (I know it's boring, but it's an option). Try some fruit-infused or lemon water if you need some flavor.

  6. Don't Skip Breakfast - I hear it every year: "I'm saving my appetite for the Christmas Dinner." This is a sure way to over-indulge since your body's hunger cues are in overdrive and you end up eating more than your body really needs.

'Tis the season to be jolly and, with these ideas, hopefully there will be weeks of creating jolly memories with loved ones. Instead of allowing food to be the main character in your holiday movie, allow laughter and storytelling to take center stage - the gathering is good for our body and our spirit.

Have a health, nutrition, or fitness question that you need answered? Schedule a free chat with me. No obligations.

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