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How to avoid holiday weight gain

According to popular belief, most people consume an additional 500+ calories per day (on average) from Thanksgiving Day until New Year’s Day! Is that belief true for you? If so, it could mean putting on an extra 5 to 10 pounds--not a healthy way to start the New Year. The following 10 tips can help keep the extra pounds off during the holidays.

1. Weigh yourself today. Write it down on your calendar or planner and do not weight yourself again until after New Year’s Day. For the rest of the year, stay focused on the pleasure of your close relationships, healthful food and activity, and the fun of giving and receiving. If stressful thoughts about weight gain or food come up, simply let them go. We do have the power to control what we think about.

2. Drink more water. This is the easiest way to manage weight, but most people often choose harder ways—food restriction and hours at the gym. Decide if you want simple or hard. If you want simple, then drink at least 1/2 oz. of pure water per pound of body weight.

3. Eat raw fruits and veggies. No matter what, eat at least one piece of fruit and lots of raw veggies or a large vegetable salad every day. If you are going to a pot-luck dinner or party, do yourself and everyone else a favor and volunteer to bring salad or raw veggies.

4. Combine food wisely. A major contributor to weight gain is poor digestion and elimination. You can significantly improve your digestion by following these simple food combining rules as often as possible: (1) Eat fruit alone, (2) Avoid combining starch and animal protein, (3) Eat starches alone or with vegetables, (4) Always eat meat protein with vegetables, and (5) Avoid drinking fluids with meals (especially sodas and fruit drinks).

5. Follow the 80/20 principle. All that rich food will be around often during the holiday season—but not all the time. I encourage you to eat food that makes you feel well at least 80% of the time and allow yourself the high-calorie foods on special occasions without guilt or remorse. Enjoy your food and your company.

6. Be prepared. Take the time to prepare healthy snacks and bring them with you wherever you go--whether it’s working, shopping, or skiing. Whatever you do, don’t show up at a party with ravenous hunger.

7. Avoid snacking after dinner. This is when the extra calories are most likely going to convert to fat because they are not required for energy.

8. Exercise daily. Without daily exercise, your body will think you’re hibernating and slow your metabolism down to conserve energy. So bundle up and get outside or hop on the treadmill and walk at least 15-30 minutes daily. Jumping on a mini-trampoline (or rebounder) is an excellent way to flush lymph, strengthen every cell in the body, oxygenate the blood and burn calories.

9. Sweat it out. An easy way to burn calories and sweat out toxins is to take a sauna. A single session in an infrared sauna (30-60 minutes) will burn 300-600 calories, as many as running several miles.

10. Do less, enjoy more. Stress begins in our mind and is expressed in our body. When we perceive a stressor (such as having too much to do during the holidays), our body sends chemical messengers in the form of stress hormones to help our bodies handle the stress. Unfortunately, these stress hormones create an acidic condition in the body along with eventual weight gain. You can simply choose to do less and enjoy more.

Challenge yourself this holiday season to make yourself a priority. Take time out daily to prepare healthy food, to be still, to breathe deeply, and to enjoy all the good fortune in your life.


  • Norma Erickson, Montana Healthy Living Examiner 5 years ago

    Excellent advice--we should all take heed. The holiday season does not have to mean extra pounds that we need to take off later. Thanks for the article.

  • Nancy 5 years ago

    Thank you for your feedback and taking the time to read it.