You Don't Have to Gain Weight During the Holidays

Here are seven tips to avoid weight gain from Halloween to the Super Bowl.

Posted Oct 28, 2019

It’s here again, the beginning of the holiday season with numerous opportunities to gain weight. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll probably buy some candy to give to trick-or-treaters. When your kids come home on Halloween, you may be tempted by some of the goodies they bring or by the leftover mini-Snickers bars that weren’t distributed to the neighborhood kids.

Next comes Thanksgiving. Aside from prodigious quantities of turkey and stuffing, you’ll be tempted by Aunt Mildred’s pumpkin pie (with whipped cream). Early in December, there’ll be holiday parties at the office and friends' houses. Along with the fattening foods, there may be eggnog. In addition to 223 calories per cup, this beverage usually contains enough alcohol to be disinhibiting. The alcohol will reduce the restraint you would typically show when confronted with additional tempting treats. 

Christmas dinners with fruitcake, jelly donuts for Hanukkah, New Year’s parties, and Super Bowl get-togethers all provide additional opportunities to gain. Also, it’ll be winter. It’s cold and the days get dark early, so there’s less outdoor physical activity resulting in fewer calories burned. Oprah reported that she typically would gain eight to 12 pounds during the holidays but even if you only gain a pound or two the extra weight is going to be hard to shed. Instead of struggling later, it’s easier to avoid the extras this season.

Here are a few tips to avoid holiday weight gain:

  • Before going to a holiday party or dinner tell your spouse or companion what you plan to eat and what you’ll avoid
  • Don’t arrive at a party hungry as that will set you up for rapid consumption of whatever is available
  • At parties, do your socializing in rooms with the least amount of food. Don’t position yourself next to the table with all the goodies
  • Keep a glass of water in your hand to make snacking less likely, eating some snacks requires two hands
  • Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages (calories that won’t satisfy your hunger) and if you do drink, have the drink with a meal
  • Say no politely. You don’t need to have seconds to prove how much you enjoyed the food being offered

And, if none of the above works, the best bet is to monitor your eating throughout the holiday season. You can use a smartphone app like My Fitness Pal or just a simple 3 x 5 card that you carry with you. You don’t need to be precise in measuring portions or calorie counts. Recording the food will make eating more mindful and deliberate thereby helping you reduce the amount you consume.