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Nutrition 101

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

R.D. Alina Zolotareva shares some healthy tips for avoiding weight gain this holiday season.

The holidays are around the corner, and let’s face it, many of us can expect to go up by 1-5 lbs before the ball drops. Gaining 1 lb. doesn’t seem like a lot, but studies suggest that weight gained during the holidays is typically not reversed as the years go by, and can become really difficult to shed over time. With a bit of self-awareness, we can actually prevent this weight gain and avoid the vicious cycle.

To avoid holiday weight gain this year (and forever), I follow these general tips:

Stay just as active as you are in the summer/fall

Winter (and mainstream marketing) makes us crave the cozy comfort of our couch and a hot cup of cocoa or tomato soup. Though there’s nothing wrong with a little R&R, don’t change your workout regimen just because it’s winter. Go ice-skating, try a new gym class or a workout video from home. Staying active makes you more likely to eat healthier, and keeps you in shape (so you don’t have to panic before beach season hits next year).

Master the “holiday party”

Everyone loves a great holiday party for obvious reasons—great company, delicious food and, of course, the open bar. Unfortunately, even a little extra leads to a lot of weight gain. Try these party cheats:

  • Have a snack with high water content and lots of fiber BEFORE a holiday party -- having a snack like fresh fruit, sautéed veggies, or plain oatmeal will help you feel full before a holiday party, so you will be less likely to overeat once you get there
  • If you have the choice, use a smaller plate. Eating off small plates tends to force you to eat less over the course of the night.
  • Instead of loading up on cold cuts, tartlets and cheese cubes, fill at least ¾ of your plate with fruits and veggies. They are lower in calories and higher in fiber and water, so you will feel full faster and get a healthy dose of antioxidants, too.
  • Pace yourself when it comes to cocktails at parties. For every alcoholic drink, have a glass or water or seltzer. Alcoholic drinks pack tons of calories, AND lead to embarrassing holiday photos.
  • Focus on people, not food. Holiday parties are a fantastic opportunity to chat with old friends and meet new ones. Don’t spend your entire night by the buffet table and branch out a little!


Don’t fear the scale! Weigh yourself daily

Though this seems counterintuitive, daily self-weighing helps you take control of you weight and shows you the effects of your diet on your body. Don’t obsess over the numbers, but if you do notice yourself gaining weight, you can quickly take measures to reverse it.

Pick a reliable scale and weigh yourself in the same spot every day, preferably at the same time of day. Don’t pay as much attention to the number on the scale, rather, keep track of the weight change over time.   


What are some of your tips for staying healthy through the holidays? 

nutrition advice, nutrition facts, holidays, healthy holidays, weight gain, weight loss, thanksgiving

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