Healthy holiday eating

17 Ways Not to Gain Weight on the Holidays

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Holiday weight loss tips and strategies can make the difference between staying on track or having to start all over again after the holidays.

The excitement builds, yesterday’s plans don’t seem so important. After all, it’s only one day. 

Dum dum dummmm. You just fell into an old story. It’s only one day. 

Except you don’t like the ending of this tired old story. You want a new beginning. 

There is no freedom when you are in bondage to old habits.

Celebrate your occasion not only feeling good about yourself but building healthy habits along the way. What you feed, grows.

In this holiday weight loss guide, you found your ‘why’, made plans and promises and sought accountability to make this party a healthy success story.  

These holiday weight loss tips and tricks will show you how to reset your habits and allow you to enjoy the party while still making healthy choices. 

1. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Connection

Remember why this is a special occasion. Connecting with the people you love is usually the most important part of the day. When special events become all about the food, you lose focus. Dig deep, the real reason you are there is to love and connect. 

Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. of  Psychology Today says, Satisfying relationships not only make us happy, but they also influence our long-term health and longevity.”

Focusing on connection is a win-win. 

2. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Light Snacks

You’ve thought about what’ll be on the menu and maybe decided to bring some sides with you. Remember from the holiday survival guide, not to skip meals the day of the event. To avoid hitting an appetizer layout ravenous, a light snack beforehand is a good idea.

3. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Bring a Dish

For many occasions, family gatherings, potlucks, dinner at friend’s homes it is acceptable and appreciated to bring a dish.  A healthy side or main dish + dessert can carry you through an entire meal. 

Salads fill you up. They’re an easy way to make any meal healthier. Pile your plate with your veggie-filled salad and add some protein.

Do some of the sides look extra good? A small spoonful of one or two high-calorie, not so healthy side dishes isn’t going to ruin your health.

I particularly like to furnish a healthy dessert.  Most meals will have a fairly healthy meat dish and some veggies, but the desserts are rarely healthy. 

This way you don’t feel deprived. If you’re the only one bringing dessert, bring a healthy dessert and a crowd-pleaser that has no temptation for you. 

For example, I would bring a plate of paleo cookies and a lemon meringue pie. I can say no to lemon meringue all day long, but if I were to bring chocolate pudding pie, that would be a huge temptation.

Weight loss during holiday buffet

4. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Evaluate Healthy Choices 

When you arrive start looking at your choices. Fill up on veggies and protein that are packed with nutrients and are more filling.  It’s easier to make healthy choices when you aren’t hungry.

Look for whole foods as opposed to overly processed ingredients. Fresh fruit is better than fruit salad with marshmallows. Holiday weight loss tips can be as easy as making a simple substitute.

5. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Use the 80/20 Rule

Pay attention to your body and notice when you start to feel full. It can be hard at first but practice eating until you’re 80% full.

Avoid the painful feeling of being stuffed.

Another trick is to make your meal 80% healthy and 20% not-so-healthy. The healthy foods fill you up while the treats make it so you don’t feel deprived. Speaking of deprivation…

6. Going without to Survive a Holiday Party

This may sound radical but stay with me. Some times, it’s okay not to eat anything. 

You’re at a child’s birthday party, wedding appetizer reception, business meeting, somewhere where the food offerings are limited, and it would be strange for you to bring your own food. 

This may be a spur of the moment decision if you were expecting to find something healthy to eat and there’s nothing but junk. 

Another good reason to have a light snack before any event.

No one really notices what you’re eating on these occasions. It’s easy to sip on a low-calorie drink. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to skip a meal when you are hydrated

Does this holiday weight loss tip seem too extreme? Choose the most filling, least sugary option and have a large enough serving to get you through the event.

Holiday drinks

7. Save Liquid Calories for Holiday Weight Loss

You’ve heard it before, don’t drink your calories. Alcoholic beverages are covered below, but you’ll want to avoid the sugar-filled drinks served up at parties. I have been to countless events where water wasn’t served at all. 

But in a pinch, tap water is almost always available and a better choice to sodas, sweet tea, or lemonade.

8. Stay hydrated for Holiday Weight Loss

Try to get your 8 glasses of water before the party. When you aren’t thirsty, your desire to consume liquid calories goes down. 

This is also a great strategy for curbing water hunger too. Most holiday weight loss tips can be used all year round.

9. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Adult Beverages

One of my friends has a saying, “One glass of wine = no holds barred.” She knows that after a glass of wine, all of her resolves dissolve. I agree, one glass of wine really tests my will power.

Of course, you can always go without adult beverages, but there are ways to slow down this cycle while still enjoying some wine.

Here are three strategies that have worked for me:

  • Mix your wine with water. Wine snobs will gasp, but over ice this is refreshing.
  • After a glass of wine, drink a glass of water to slow and dilute your intake.
  • Add ice to your glass. Then fill half with sparkling water and top off with the wine.

You don’t take in as many calories and it keeps you from drinking too much. 

10. Minding your Plate for Holiday Weight Loss

Your meals are your business. You’re the one who lives with your choices. If someone questions your eating habits or makes a hurtful comment, maybe they are unhappy with themselves. 

When you take 100% responsibility for your choices and feelings, then it doesn’t matter what they think or say. 

Did they trigger you? Wonderful!! This is an opportunity to grow stronger in your resolve and confidence. Look at the negative stories you believe their comments say about you and turn them into a positive story. 

Holiday food and weight loss tips

11. Grazing is Gonna Get You

Grab a plate. There is no way for you to tell how much you’re eating when you graze. It’s amazing how many calories you can eat in a short amount of time. 

It only takes 10 min to eat 500 calories or more in refined carbohydrates. If you have a plate then you can see how much you’re eating and how balanced your meal is. 

12. Smaller Plates for Bigger Gains

If you’re like me, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. A small plate can keep your how much you eat in check.

When there are only large plates available, use the inside of the plate and not the edges. 

Bonus Holiday Weight Loss Tips:

  • Don’t pile your plate. Choose small scopes of what looks best without overlapping. If you’re still hungry, go back for the healthiest most delicious items.

13. What to Say to Food Pushers

Like a reflex, you’ll want to have responses to friends and family that aren’t used to you eating differently at the holidays.  

Gush, thank, apologize, but let them know you aren’t eating flour or sugar right now. That will cover almost every junk food out there. 

It’s okay to say, “No thank you,”  without an explanation. For those persistent food pushers, here are some responses to get you out of sticky situations.  

Pusher: “Oh, come on! It’s a party.”

You: “That’s okay, I’ve had my lifetime quota of cheesecake. I just packed it into the last 40 years.”

Pusher: “Have you tried my creamy goulash? It’s a family favorite!”

You: “Not yet.”

Or “Oh, that looks and smells delicious! I would love to have some, but right now I am not eating _____.  You are the greatest cook and I love you so much.” 

Is it something you want to try? Have a bite! “Mmm, so delicious!” It doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it.

Other helpful responses

Here is what Marc Hyman says to pushers, “I reply I’m here for the people, not the food. No one argues or feels insulted.”

On the other hand, why is this person pushing food? 

  • Do they need a ‘treat’ partner? 
  • This is how you’ve always spent time together in the past? 
  • Giving to you makes them feel good?   
  • Do they want to show their love with food? 
Holiday Weight loss partner

Sometimes the hardest part is letting others know. After that, they expect you not to eat it. And they’ll probably be watching. 🙂 All the more motivation.

14. Bathroom Breaks Save the Day

If you’ve been hydrating you’ll need lots of these. Old temptations can be overwhelming. An important holiday weight loss tip is to take a break when needed to give yourself a pep talk, take 10 deep breaths, relax, and remind yourself of your ‘why’.

Whatever you need to hear, this is the time to encourage your good choices and stand firm.

15. Focus on Tomorrow or Your Future Self

Respect your future self. Remind yourself that this is just one day/meal. 

You rarely regret healthy choices. They make you feel good. They build momentum in your health journey.  Imagine how good you will feel about your decisions tomorrow.

16. Holiday Weight Loss Tips: Move it to Lose it

Squats quote weight loss funny

Options, ladies, options, remember you don’t have to do more than a few strategies from the whole list.

Ben Greenfield a fitness guru recommends bathroom squats to get your metabolism going and burn carbs before an indulgent meal. 30 seconds worth of squats enhances your blood glucose response.

A 15 min. walk after the meal also burns through those excess calories and stabilizes blood sugar. Plus, you get some fresh air and it’s a nice way to spend time with family and friends. 

17. Digestive Enzymes to the Rescue

If you’ve decided to go for it or indulge a little, I highly recommend digestive enzymes. Nothing makes an overstuffed stomach feel better like 2 digestive enzymes taken at the very beginning, middle, or even after a large meal. 

Keep a small pillbox in your purse for those occasions. You’ll be grateful to have them when the meal is extra rich or your stomach is hurting.

You Only Fail When You Stop Trying

Even if you feel like you failed.  ‘Failures’ can be your most valuable life lessons. 

Different occasions call for different strategies. You choose, you’re in control. When you take care of your body, it takes care of you.

How did your last holiday meal go? What would you do differently?

Thank you for being here and taking the time to read to the end. Health journeys are more powerful when shared, so be sure to leave a comment below. ❤️

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2 thoughts on “17 Ways Not to Gain Weight on the Holidays”

  1. It has always been a hassle for me to keep my weight in check during the holidays. These tips are definitely going to help me stay on track. Thank you for sharing this, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    1. You’ve got this! The feeling of accomplishment after making it past a holiday that has tripped you up in the past is so worth it. You’re welcome and thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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