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How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

By Jenny Craig

The holidays are a time to spread good tidings and cheer with family and friends, which usually involve parties with tables full of presents, food and drinks to delight in. With all of the events between Thanksgiving and New Years, it can be easy to gain weight. Here are a few tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain and eat healthy during the holiday:


  • Eat before the event. Showing up to the party already full allows you to focus on interacting with everyone—not just the treat table.
  • Don't Skip Meals: You may be tempted to skip breakfast and "save" all of your calories for the big feast but you could be setting yourself up to overeat. Remember to have breakfast, lunch and a snack, and follow your menu plan for the day so that when dinner comes around, you won't be starving and more likely to overdo it.
  • Plan for Social Situations: You can still enjoy social events while following your weight loss plan; it just takes some pre-planning. When going to a holiday party, offer to bring a vegetable platter so that you will have foods to munch on. If you are going out to eat, plan what you will eat ahead of time.
  • Don’t stand by the food. It’s easy to get caught up in everyone’s excitement as they pile their plates high with goodies. Once you create your plate, step away from the table and socialize away from the food.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. You can prevent holiday weight gain by not partaking in every holiday drink at every event. If the eggnog or spiked punchbowl of apple cider are calling your name, consider how much activity you have to do to work the calories off. For a half cup of low-fat eggnog with 1-½ ounces of rum, it will take about 20-30 minutes of ice skating to burn 250 calories! If you are going to have wine, try pouring it in a smaller glass to limit the portion.
  • Enjoy desserts in moderation. Cookies, holiday lattes and pies, oh my! There seems to be a sugary treat everywhere you go. A small nonfat mocha latte with whip cream can be burned off with 15-20 minutes of running (which you can attempt as you run around holiday shopping), but you can also find other ways to enjoy holiday favorites. Look for recipes that take your holiday favorites and put a lighter spin on them, or stick to a bowl of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sweetness.
  • Control your portions. While you may think you can stop holiday weight gain by limiting the sweet treats and alcohol, that feeling of missing out may sneak up on you and have you binge on everything later. Don’t miss out on celebrating—instead, focus on your portions. Ask the host/hostess what items will be served at the party so you can create a mental game plan and stick to it! When in doubt, stock up on vegetables and lean proteins, then choose small bites of everything else so you get a sample to taste without over-indulging.
  • Feel empowered to say “no.” It’s the season for giving, but you don’t need to give in to everyone telling you to eat and drink whatever you like because it’s the holidays. You can avoid holiday weight gain by committing to your game plan and being selective about what you decide to eat. If someone keeps telling you to try something you’re not interested in eating, like a whole piece of cake or another drink, you can follow our PRP—Polite, Reason, Polite—technique.
  • But also, feel empowered to say “yes.” Moderation and portion are key, but you may have an event where you happen to grab an extra peppermint brownie square or got too excited over the gingerbread men. The important thing is to recognize this and plan for next time. Don’t stress or worry too much over it—it happened, it was delicious and now you have another moment to choose a healthier option that will help you feel festive, energized and revitalized to continue in the holiday cheer.


These tips can help you avoid holiday weight gain as long as you commit to them! There is so much joy beyond the food and drinks that can easily sweep you up in the holiday spirits! Whether you’re dashing through the snow or laughing all the way through your neighborhood while singing carols, we wish you good tidings as you celebrate your weight loss journey with friends and family.




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