Nutrition Articles

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Are You Beginning to Look a Lot Like Santa?

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I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas dinner, but we have to ask. Just when did holidays like Hanukkah and Christmas morph from messages of love and giving to ones of food and gorging?

Whether it’s one, three or seven pounds, experience says that most of us will gain weight between now and New Year’s Day. So it bears repeating that moderation is the key to enjoying a fun and healthy holiday season.

This year, shake off the ghosts of food-crammed Christmases past! Fill up instead on family and friendship rather than food and feasting. Make a concerted effort to fill your heart with love—not cholesterol—and you’ll start the New Year with a brighter outlook instead of a desperate resolve to shed pounds!
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About The Author

John McGran John McGran
During his 25-year writing and editing career, John has written for several newspapers, magazines and websites.

Member Comments

    If only telling us these "tips" for the past 50 years really did some good!! 96 % of people will still enjoy the holidays and wind up cutting back in January. Has nothing to do with "sanity" or anything else............. is what it is, no more guilt trips please. - 12/16/2014 8:29:14 AM
  • Good timing; good sane advice that is much needed. - 12/23/2013 8:55:48 AM
  • Thank you for the reminder. Today, I made our families' Christmas lasagna with low fat cottage cheese, reduced fat mozzerella, little ground pork instead of sausage, and ground chuck. For the sauce I used low sodium canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce. I used whole wheat lasagna noodles, I wanted to add spinach-but Erik vetoed that idea.
    Next time!) - 12/24/2011 8:25:20 PM
  • Thank you so much for the reminder that we really can get through these holidays with still being able to maintain or even lose some weight! Whoo-Hoo!! - 12/24/2011 11:09:02 AM
  • Thank you! What great tips for holiday party survival! I made sure I saved a copy...I will refer to it often.
    - 12/24/2011 4:47:01 AM
    Last night we trudged through the snow to our neighbors’ home for a casual dinner. About an hour before we left I enjoyed my daily popcorn and my weekend treat, a homemade latte with half a packet of hot cocoa mix added to make it mocha-y.

    Snack Benefits: While I was shoveling in my popcorn I wondered, “Why am I eating this now, before a dinner out?” Little did I know how helpful that huge snack was going to be as the evening unfolded.

    We settled down to eat about an hour after we arrived. By then, my popcorn had shrunk back to its original, kernel size and I wasn’t feeling too full. The caffeine in the latte perked me up enough to pay attention to nice decorations around the house for complimenting the hostess. I was keeping my brain, and my mouth, busy with constructive activities rather than noshing.

    Politeness Counts: Since we live in the South, I have gotten accustomed to strictly following the guideline of not picking up my fork until the hostess does the same. For this meal, I consciously stopped eating when the hostess or her husband told a story or otherwise paused in their meal. This helped me pace my food intake in a way that didn’t seem to draw attention to my slow eating. It also helped me avoid the awkward situation of having an empty plate and not returning to the buffet for seconds, like the rest of the dinner party eventually did.

    If the host’s story was especially long I would sip from my water glass, while listening attentively and thinking of questions to ask.

    During dessert I continued the same slow pace and the hot tea accompanying dessert helped stretch out the rate of eating, as the guys went back for seconds.

    Resolve: During Christmas and New Years I hope to continue these strategies as well as my other favorites—bringin
    g healthy, low cal/point dishes to share and avoiding empty calories by choosing only water, coffee or tea at parties.
    - 12/21/2009 11:19:12 AM
  • You missed "change your expectations for treats in your own home." We used to fill our house with 7 kinds of cookies, two kinds of cake, toffee, fudge, Chex Mix, spiced nuts, pralines and endless other food treats - starting baking and prep in late October!! Three years ago, as a family, we decided on the 2 things that we couldn't live without - a traditional family coffee cake for Christmas morning and Chex mix (jugging the recipe to reduce the oil) and make those only.

    This will be the 3rd year in a row that my husband and I will maintain our weight over the holiday season. - 12/14/2009 2:03:24 PM
  • Good article. My immediate family, consisting ofmy wonderful husband, 3 grown daughters and their spouses and my 14 yr. old daughter hosted our anual Family and Friends Christmas Get Together. We had a nice hall, loads of food and around 60 wonderful people. I had prepared myself to stay on plan and was able to do so. I ate roast beef that was cooked to perfection and a tasty salad. Thank God I have a made up mind on this journey. I decided not to "diet," but to change my lifestyle. My grandson told his mom that he sure did like this "lifestyle change eating." Be prepared ahead of time by knowing what you will choose, have plenty of water and diet soda. If you fall off the hose, just get up, brush the dust off and keep on keeping on. We can do it!!! - 12/16/2008 12:18:47 PM
  • These are great tips. I think I'm ready for the challenge :) - 11/18/2008 2:04:55 PM
  • The point about keeping something in your hands to drink (calorie free water) is a point that I certainly have found to be the most helpful at high caloric parties. Not only is it healthful--it fills me up and reminds me of my goals I have set for life. The more water I drink the less the gravitational pull of the high fat snacks. - 11/18/2008 10:54:09 AM
  • Oh, last year as a Sparker I only lost 2# during the whole holiday season, but this year I'm going to do MUCH better, because I don't have the SUGAR cravings like I did. Thanks for the article. This is the toughest time of the year. - 11/6/2008 2:04:21 AM
  • I know these are suppose to be holiday tips but I could really use these all year round.
    Thanks! - 2/19/2008 4:50:53 AM
  • sure will me making use of this during the holidays - 12/21/2007 10:10:18 PM
  • Good sound advice as usual-thanks! - 12/19/2007 8:21:41 AM
    It's about time someone thought of something to help during the holidays! The tips here are fantastic advice! Thanks! - 12/18/2007 11:57:05 PM

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