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5 Simple Steps to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

By Sara Baker

I know what you might be thinking… not another lame list about eating before you go to a party to help you not gain 5lbs over the holidays. :) I also know you probably read ‘holiday tips’ in health magazines every year and many of them are repetitive, somewhat unrealistic and often cliché.

However, I think we can always use a reminder to help up get through these indulgent next 8 weeks.  I think the holidays start on Halloween as that is when the candy and junk starts coming in the stores and your house.  If you think what you can attain in 8 weeks when it comes to fat loss and dietary changes, imagine how easy it is to undue your hard work.  Below are 5 simple tips to hopefully help you keep on track over the holidays!

  1. Do not buy Halloween candy or even holiday candy until the very last minute and buy candy you do not like.
    I do not buy my candy 3 weeks ahead of time so that it can sit in my pantry and tempt me.  Even better, I buy candy I do not like so I am not tempted. If I have leftover candy, I give it to my husband to take to work and get it out of the house.  Have kids?  Let them pick 15-20 pieces out and donate or throw away the rest.    Then let them have 1 piece every day or every few days.  They do not need to consume 5lbs of candy in the next month.
  2. Workout on Thanksgiving. 
    No excuses.  It does not matter if you are visiting family, hosting a dinner for 35 or traveling that day.  Everyone can squeeze in 20-30 min of exercise.  A walk is better than nothing.  A quick set of walking lunges, body weight squats, push-ups, dips can all help rev your metabolism.  Even better, walk after your big meal.
  3. At holiday parties….indulge carefully.   
    I am not going to tell you to eat carrots before the party so you are not tempted by the cupcakes. What?  Those items are no even comparable.  Everyone will most likely indulge a little over the holidays so pick wisely.  If the host is serving a very special cocktail that you would like, pick that as your treat and try to stick to veggies and proteins for the rest of the meal.  If you love sweets (me!!) I will pick something that I do not get the rest of the year (usually something pumpkin or pecan chocolate flavored).  I do not go to a party and eat chips and salsa as that is not special to me and I can have that anytime of the year for a cheat.  Pick what you want and as Jill says…ritualize not habitualize.
  4. Make your goal to MAINTAIN. 
    I think most people are setting themselves up for disappointment if their goal is to lose weight over the holidays.  Every year, my husband and I join in a “Maintain Don’t Gain” program that we run at my corporate wellness center.   Every Monday, we weigh/measure etc. and our goal is just to maintain.  If the numbers goes up, we tighten up for the week.  The main goal being to have just maintained my fitness, body fat and weight by Jan 1.
  5. Start preparing for 2013. 
    I do not believe in resolutions, I believe in goals. Every year, I set goals is various areas of my life.   I set attainable yet challenging goals regarding my health/physique, career, house and financial goals.  I post these where I can see them every day and refer to them often.  If you start focusing on your goals now and what you want to accomplish next year, hopefully it will help keep you on track and maybe even get a head start on those goals before Jan 1.

I would love to hear if any of you have any more tips for surviving the holidays.   XOXO Sara

Related: 10 Ways To Out-Wit Holiday Weight Gain from Metabolic Effect

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