11 Tested Tips to Fend Off Holiday Weight Gain

Photo by andriano.cz / Shutterstock.com

When I was in the process of losing more than 100 pounds five years ago, meals at Christmas and New Year’s terrified me.

Like many others, I love the cookies, eggnog and meat-centric meals that are standard holiday fare. Of course, I worried I’d regain the weight I’d worked so hard to lose. Spoiler alert: I didn’t gain any weight that season. The tricks were so successful that I now use them for every holiday season and other splurge times.

Check out these tips to make sure you ring in the new year as your slimmest self:

1. Set realistic goals

Although I actually lost weight that holiday season — a terrific bonus! — I didn’t set out to do so. Instead I promised myself that I would maintain my weight.

If you think that sounds like the easy way out, consider that one study found adults generally gain between 1 and 5 pounds during the holidays. Such pounds are usually difficult to lose and may account for that creeping annual weight gain.

2. Don’t starve

It’s easy to believe that if you skip breakfast and other meals to save up for a holiday treat, you won’t gain weight. I did that, too, and it didn’t work. Once treat time rolled around, I was ravenous. The experts at the University of California, Davis, suggest you eat healthy regular meals — think wheat toast and fruit for breakfast — so you eat reasonable portions later.

3. Stand by the vegetable tray

One holiday, I was tempted to eat the buttery cookies, milk chocolate candy and bacon-wrapped pretzel sticks the host had out for guests. As basic as it sounds, I stood right next to the tray of raw vegetables and ate broccoli, cherry tomatoes and other healthy veggies as I talked with people.

To grab cookies or other high-calorie foods, I would have had to leave my friends and make my way across a crowded room. Every time I was tempted, I ate more veggies.

4. Don’t go all out

Enjoy holiday foods, but keep moderation in mind. Choose turkey instead of ham, go easy on the butter, and choose low-fat eggnog. Also, don’t skip the salad (though you may want to skip the dressing), vegetables and fruits. They really do fill you up.

5. Be a food snob

We often fill our plates with food out of habit, and that shows on the scale. When I started to lose weight, I became incredibly picky about the foods I ate. When you carefully choose the foods you really enjoy and then eat them slowly and mindfully, you’ll be satisfied and slim. By the way, if you don’t like something on your plate, don’t eat it. Period.

6. Beware the fill-your-glass host

I recently went to a party and didn’t fully realize the host kept refilling my glass, adding extra calories to my evening meal. One way to avoid this dilemma is to start your evening with a glass of seltzer — make sure it’s not high calorie tonic — that contains a slice of lemon, recommends Readers’ Digest.

The water fills you up, and the lemon adds a burst of what they call a “fat releasing nutrient” — and flavor. This holiday season, I’ll have a glass of seltzer with lemon between each glass of wine.

7. Choose to be last in line

You know how fresh and yummy untouched food looks? Food doesn’t look quite as appealing after a few people have taken helpings, say experts at the Cleveland Clinic. Try to serve yourself last, and you might find food is a bit less appealing.

8. Keep exercise in perspective

The experts at UC Davis and elsewhere remind everyone to stay active and exercise regularly. That’s great advice. The problem I found is that I’d work out vigorously — even when I was very tired — and then reward myself with food. That meant I ate back all the calories I burned off during exercise. Moderation is key for workouts and food.

9. Wear your fancy clothes

When you are dressed elegantly, you feel great and are less likely to chow down on high-calorie foods.

10. Concentrate on your food

When you eat holiday goodies and delicacies, be fully conscious of each bite. What’s the point of having the food if you don’t fully enjoy it? Of course, you’ll likely be chatting during the meal, so set your food down then, says Real Simple. When there’s a pause in conversation, eat your food. Mindfulness makes all the difference.

11. Trim the trimmings

Dips, spreads and sauces add a lot of extra calories, and we often automatically add them to our foods. When I hit weight plateaus, I became acutely aware of such extras and began to cut them out. That helped jump-start my continued weight loss. Go easy on the extras, and you’ll be rewarded when you step on the scale.

Do you have secret strategies for keeping your consumption under control on the holidays? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

5 Surveys For Money Sites To Get Paid For Your Opinion
5 Surveys For Money Sites To Get Paid For Your Opinion

Yes, you can earn extra cash by taking online surveys. But some websites are better than others for this. Here are a few of our favorites.

2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

Never Put These 8 Things in a Microwave Oven
Never Put These 8 Things in a Microwave Oven

A microwave can be a busy cook’s best friend. But heating certain things in a microwave can cause disaster.

8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Current events have you feeling anxious? These Amazon products can take the edge off.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.