How to Avoid Extra Holiday Pounds

If you’re anything like me, the holidays mean family, fun, tasty foods, and yummy baked goods.  I have quite the sweet tooth, so it’s hard for me to avoid splurging during the holidays.  Nick Sivrich, PT had some great advice in a recent post that I will be adding to.

Growing up in rural Appalachia, sending neighbors sweets and baked goods was a pretty standard Christmas gift.  One of my neighbors makes the best peanut butter fudge in the world.  I also remember eating way too much of that fudge and feeling sick after.  So, how do you keep from overshooting your daily calorie budget?

  •  Keep to your workout routine during the week 

During the holidays, there are definitely more obligations, and these can take up some of your valuable time.  It’s important to still stay active, at least 30 mins per day, 5 days per week.  An easy way to fit this in is to break it up.  Research has shown that it’s still effective in maintaining health to exercise 3 x 10 mins per day instead of a full 30 minutes at once.  If you find that you are still struggling, even just getting in a walk per day is better than nothing.

  •  If you do meal prepping, continue to do so. 

Meal prepping is a great way to save time and money, as well as calories.  If your meals are already prepared, it’s easier to avoid eating out or splurging on the office goodies.  Such indulgences can really add up in calories.

  •  Stay hydrated

Personally, I try to drink a glass of water before each meal. This helps to keep my hydration levels up, and it can help with overeating.  The extra water helps you to feel fuller sooner.  Remember that a person doesn’t ‘feel full’ until about 15 to 20 minutes after they stop eating.

  •  Aim for 7 a day

It’s important to try to get seven or more servings of fruits and veggies a day.  This is a great way to fill up your stomach without blowing over your calorie level.  Unlike ‘junk food’ like cookies and chips, fruits and veggies have less calories and more nutrients gram per gram.  The extra fiber in fruits and veggies also help you to feel full faster.  Try to bring cut up veggies and fruits to bring to work.  A great way to reduce calorie intake is to have at least five fruits and veggies before going to a party.

  •  Control temptation.  If you can’t, limit to one per day.

The best defense is to not be there.  If you struggle with sweets like me, don’t buy them.  Or, share your sweets with others.  But, if sweets are unavoidable at the workplace or at home, set a limit per day.  Maybe just one is too ambitious of a goal, but two or three is better than seven or eight!

  • Plan ahead = Don’t go to parties hungry.

If you have already had a healthy snack or light meal before a party, the party spread is going to be much less tempting!

  •  Make smart party choices:  
    • Small plates 
    • Just selecting a dessert sized plate instead of a full sized plate can help you eat less.  With big plates, it’s tempting to fill up all the space, even if you aren’t hungry.  Smaller plates fill up faster, and look “filled” sooner.  You can trick your brain into eating less.
    • Avoid sauces 
    • Sauces can be really high in calories, and these aren’t things that I often consider when picking out foods.  Avoid sauces made from cream, half-and-half, or meat drippings. For salads, use oil and vinegar, vinaigrette or low-fat dressings. Broth based or vegetable sauces are better choices.
    • Dessert Decisions
    • Try to stick with desserts that are lower in calories, like Jello, pudding, unfrosted mini muffins, shortbread cookies, ginger snaps, or angel food cake.  If you really NEED the chocolate or frosting, try to limit yourself to one small cookie or a tiny slice of cake/pie.  Or, try splitting desserts with friends!
    • Watch your drinks
    • Drink calories can really add up.  Try to keep alcoholic beverages to 1-2/ day.  It’s also important to consider the type of alcohol.  Spiked eggnog is going to be higher in calories than a light beer or wine.  It’s also good to try to reduce caffeine.  Consider water, unsweetened iced tea, hot tea, or coffee.
  • Learn how to say ‘no’ politely

If people put food in front of you, it can be hard to refuse without feeling rude.  It’s important to learn to say “no” politely.  For instance, “Everything was delicious, and I’ve had enough.  Thanks!” or “I couldn’t eat another bite, but thank you!”

  •  Focus on socializing, not food

This is one that I struggle with.  People tend to hang out near the food.  When you’re surrounded by food, it’s easier to want to eat more.  The best part of the holidays is getting to visit with those closest to you, not having four extra cookies.

Enjoy your holidays!


Steps to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Understanding Satiety – Feeling Full after a Meal

The 10 Minute Workout – Times Three

I am so thankful to Greg Todd & Smart Success PT for all that I have learned about physical therapy and businessPre-register for  Smart Success that re-launches in January. Be the first to know how to Change you Career!!


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