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‘Tis the Season: Five Tips for Taming Holiday Weight Gain

November 11, 2012

I’m sitting here as I type watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.  Yes, it’s saccharin and laden with fantasy…and I love it.  These will become a weekend staple for the next six weeks or so.  And as the holidays are about to kick into high gear, it’s time to strategize for all the amazing, rich food that will be tempting us.  But first, an update on the last week…

A week ago, I weighed in at 232.1 pounds.  This was a gain over the week before, and honestly for the few weeks prior, I had kind of felt like I was at a bit of a plateau.  Exercise has definitely become more challenging with the time change, and I do plan to break down and join a gym soon.  But this week, I was back on track!  I weighed in at 229.3!!!  That’s a 2.8 pound loss from last week, and a 29.6 pound loss from when I re-started my weight loss efforts in July.  From my all time high of 315, it’s about an 86 pound loss now!  Being out of the 230’s is truly uncharted territory for me…  I think it’s been pre-high school since I’ve been this light!  That’s great motivation!!!

My goal is to reach 215 pounds by New Year’s.  That would be a 100 pound loss for me.  That’s about 14 more pounds in the next 7 weeks, or a two-pound a week loss.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas thrown in, along with my trip to New York in early December for the Cyndi Lauper Holiday concert, and the various parties I’ll be attending, I will NOT be beating myself up if I don’t reach my goal exactly on time.  However, I do want to ensure that I continue a downward trend, and certainly not gain any weight.  So here’s how I’m planning to do that – with my five tips for taming holiday weight gain:

1)  Practice Portion Control – The holidays bring with them lots of rich foods, and traditional foods that we only eat once a year.  If you deny yourself these things, you may end up feeling deprived, which could lead to a binge.  So I plan to enjoy the foods I love, but not return for seconds and thirds, and for the high calorie dishes, try to have a small portion as opposed to a full helping.

2)  Embrace the Spirit of Giving – If you’re a baker like me, there are certain traditional dishes you just have to make this time of year.  For me it’s my mom’s iced almond sugar cookies, pecan pralines, and a pumpkin banana mousse tart I began making a few years back for holiday gatherings.  I will still make these things, but as a single person, I’ll make sure that I have plenty of people to share them with instead of keeping all the leftovers here to snack on.  Give little gift bags to family and friends.  Take leftovers to church gatherings or to your break room at work.  Share with your neighbors.  But whatever you do, get it OUT of the house!

3)  Limit Your Treats to Specific Days – If you know you have a party one day, or obviously Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, your family’s Hanukkah gathering, etc., you know you won’t be perfect those days.  But on the days you don’t have obligations like that, stick closely to your healthy eating plan.  Don’t give yourself a two month pass to eat whatever you want.  And on the days you do have holiday obligations, see number 1) above!  🙂

4) Prioritize Exercise – This is the toughest one for me.  With food presenting challenges this time of year, exercise becomes even more important.  I’m just going to have to make this a priority.  Join the gym.  Go right after work before settling in for the evening.  Go first thing weekend mornings before the shopping, baking, and visiting starts.  If you’re going to the mall, make a deal with yourself to stay on your feet and keep moving for a set time period (I like to do two hours without sitting down when I’m going to the mall, and try to build in some stretches of long walking – parking in the back of the lot, going from one department store to another without stopping on the way, etc.)

5)  Limit Alcohol – I don’t drink much at all.  I’m a foodie, not a drinker, so I’d much rather spend my calories on food than alcohol.  But when you walk into a reception or party with an open bar, or you see that bowl of punch or eggnog, it can be really easy to have a glass or two.  Just remember, you’re already adding calories to your daily routine with the desserts, casseroles, and such, so that glass of bourbon or rum spiked eggnog may be an extra calorie bomb that’s just not worth it.  And if that is what’s calling your name at a particular party, maybe you can keep the snacks healthy – and go for the crudite and cheese instead of the fudge and cheesecake.

Most of all, enjoy the holidays!  Getting and staying healthy is a lifelong journey so we can be around for more of these holiday seasons and special moments with family and friends!  Don’t deprive yourself to the point of feeling down and out, but be responsible so you don’t set yourself back.  That’s what I’m going to try to do!

See you next week!

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