The holidays are a time to spread good tidings and cheer with family and friends, which usually involve parties with tables full of presents, high-calorie foods and drinks to delight in. With all of the events between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, it can be easy to gain unwanted weight. While recent research1 indicates that weight gain during the holidays might not be as drastic as previously thought (the study found that people gain an average of almost one pound during the holidays), it can still be hard to navigate the holiday season when you’re trying to lose weight.
But not to fear! We've rounded up our best tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain and eat healthy during the holidays. Here's to a healthy and happy holiday season!
1. Eat before the event.
Grab an apple or a non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a little fruit to help fill you up before arriving at a party. This way, you won't be famished and can focus on enjoying the company rather than making a beeline for the hors d'oeuvre table and potentially making less-than-stellar food choices.
2. 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. Try to enjoy breakfast, lunch and a small snack before the main event. If you're a Jenny Craig member, try to follow your menu plan for the day, so when it's time for dinner, you'll be less hungry and you can avoid overeating.
3. Plan for social situations.
You can still enjoy social events while following your weight loss program; it just takes a little pre-planning. When going to a holiday party, offer to bring a vegetable platter so you'll have a healthy snack to munch on. If you're going out to eat, check out the menu online to plan your meal ahead of time.
Did you know? A Jenny Craig weight loss consultant can give you helpful strategies to avoid holiday weight gain and stick to your weight loss goals when times (like the holidays) are tough.
4. Don't stand by the food and try to sneak in some activity.
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 table.
Rather than lounging for the entire night, gather a group of party-goers or family members to participate in some physical activity, like a walk around the neighborhood to admire the holiday decorations — weather permitting, of course! Whatever exercise you choose, you’ll be able to stretch your legs and squeeze in a little extra activity for the day.
Although alcohol is a common staple at most holiday gatherings, it may hinder your weight loss goals by piling on liquid calories. It could also potentially influence your decisions when it comes to making healthy food choices. Instead of pouring a glass of wine, opt for a soda water or refreshing unsweetened iced tea. Garnish it with a lemon wedge and other festive fruit to add flavor and color.
6. Enjoy desserts in moderation.
Cookies, holiday lattes and pumpkin pies seem to surround us during the holiday season. Look for desserts that take your holiday favorites and put a lighter spin on them, like Jenny Craig's soft baked Chocolate Walnut Brownie or delicious Lemon Cookies. Or, stick to a light and refreshing fruit salad to satisfy your sweet tooth.
7. Watch your portion sizes.
Ask the host/hostess what items will be served at the party so you can create a game plan and stick to it! When in doubt, stock up on vegetables and lean proteins, then choose a small bite of 1-3 of your holiday favorites, so you can can enjoy a selection of holiday fare without over-indulging.
Wondering what portion sizes are best? Use this handy portion size guide to help!
8. Feel empowered to say “no.”
'Tis the season for giving, but you don’t need to give in to every holiday meal. Avoid holiday weight gain by committing to your weight loss plan and being selective about what you decide to eat. If friends and family pressure you to try something you’re not interested in eating, you can follow our PRP — Polite, Reason, Polite — technique.
9. But also, feel empowered to say “yes.”
Moderation and portioning are key, but you may attend an event where you happen to grab an extra peppermint brownie square or had one too many snacks. 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 and energized 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.
Are you ready to commit to healthier living this holiday season? View our menu options that are created to fit your lifestyle!