cheersTips to Manage Holiday Weight Gain

The holiday season is upon us, which means lots of parties and countless opportunities to overindulge. Should you skip the office gathering because you know they only serve pizza, sodas and chicken wings? …And how many cocktail parties can you really enjoy without feeling like you have overindulged and blown away your healthy eating regime?

While the holidays are supposed to be a time of family, friends, fun & celebration, they can also be a stressful time for many of our clients who are trying to maintain or improve their health and fitness. If you have a busy social calendar this year, but feel that you would rather skip out than overindulge and undo all of your hard work, here are some strategies to help keep you on track!.

Pre-party Appetite Control

Showing up to a holiday party feeling ravenous is no different than grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Curb the cravings and avoid scarfing down the first tray of hors d'oeuvres by simply having a small protein/carb snack before you head out. You’ll arrive to your event less famished and more prepared to pass on the sugar & junk food, and to stick to what makes you feel and function your best.

Step Away, … Far Far Away

Sometimes for comfort we tend to gravitate to what comforts us… food! If you are at a gathering where you are a bit shy, or don’ t know many of the guests, it’s easier to make small talk while using food as a distraction. Instead, get yourself a cocktail (if you are drinking alcohol, alternate drinks 1-1 with water) to keep your hands busy, and keep far away from the buffet. You’ll maybe even find that you socialize even more than you anticipated without having to stuff your face with more junk!

Give the Gift of Health

Just because it’s a holiday gathering, doesn’t mean all of the food has to be fattening or sugar-laden. If you are going to a potluck gathering, why not bring a “healthified” dish of your own so that you know there will be something on the menu for you that supports your healthy lifestyle.

Make Exercise a Priority

Skip the “all or nothing” attitude and don’t wait until the New Year to get your fitness program on track. If you know you’ll be indulging in more calories than usual this time of year, simply bump up the time and/or intensity of your workouts. You may not lose weight, but if you can at least maintain what you have worked so hard for. Bonus, you’ll be that much ahead of the game in January!

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Last but definitely not least, remember that the holidays are a time to relax and enjoy the peace of the season with the people that matter the most to you. Make sure you allow yourself to take the time to enjoy moderate indulgences in the things that you truly love, rather than wasting empty calories on party extras that you don’t truly enjoy. A small slice of your moms pumpkin pie, or a spoonful of homemade gravy with your meal won’t be the end of your hard work. Remember to keep things in moderation and don’t beat yourself up for not being “perfect”. When we allow ourselves some leeway, our stress hormones also stay in balance, which helps keep weight gain in check.