Hold it for the Holidays: Six Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Stay on track this holiday season while staying healthy and having fun


The holidays are here, which means holiday celebrations with friends and family. During this season, parties, potlucks, gatherings and food are plentiful, and delicious desserts and tempting treats are as far as the eye can see.

Holiday weight gain is extremely common; most adults gain at least a pound or two between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to take preventive measures to avoid extra holiday weight gain and delay or prevent the onset of diabetes. Here are six tips to keep you on track:

  • Be Picky – Look at all your options before choosing what to put on your plate and avoid foods that you don’t really want. According to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, if you pick the food you really want and enjoy it in moderation; you are more likely to hold off the cravings later. For example, if you can take or leave stuffing but love scalloped potatoes, skip the stuffing and have a healthy portion of the potatoes instead.
  • Focus on Fun, Not Food – Parties are about more than just the food. Focus on fun this holiday season with friends and family instead of filling your plate. Throw yourself into holiday rituals, whether it’s caroling, crafts or catching up with family. Time flies when you’re having fun.
  • Manage Your Stress – The holiday season provides added responsibilities on top of your already busy schedule and these tasks can cause feelings of stress and frustration. A study by Ohio State University showed that stress can lead to weight gain, cravings for unhealthy food and the inability to burn calories as fast. To help combat stress-eating, make sure to say no to obligations that may be too much for your schedule and take a break if needed. By checking in with your body and stress levels often, you’ll be able to face holiday chaos and food with stronger willpower and positivity.
  • Rest Up – Make sure you get plenty of rest this season, especially the night before a holiday party. Recent studies have shown that after a short night’s sleep, adults are more likely to consume 300 calories extra and to choose higher-fat, higher calorie foods. Lack of sleep can also contribute to feeling less full and having an increased appetite. By getting your rest, you will have an easier time making healthy choices and saving your calories.
  • Indulge in Special Treats Only – Skip the store-bought sweets and save your calories for special homemade treats. However, don’t overindulge! Consider eating fruit before dessert. The natural sweetness of fruit will help satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Work it Out – Keep those extra calories at bay by making small adjustments to your health and fitness routine that won’t take too much of your holiday time. Try parking your car farther away at the mall, setting up walking meetings at work and utilizing at home workout videos to pop in while you’re cooking.  According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can help you control your blood glucose, weight, and blood pressure, as well as raise your “good” cholesterol and lower your “bad” cholesterol. It can also help prevent heart and blood flow problems, reducing your risk of heart disease and nerve damage, which are often problems for people with diabetes.
  • The holidays are a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Don’t let all the food and sweets prevent you from having a good time. With these tips, you will be well on your way to avoiding holiday weight gain.