Is it possible to avoid gaining weight during the holidays?

The turkey is a beautiful golden brown.  Spiral sliced brown sugar glazed ham. Candied sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes with silky smooth gravy and a dab of butter.  Flaky biscuits.  Pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pies with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.  And the list of our favorite holiday dinner specialties goes on and on. Are we having a dream? No! That’s the holiday table right in front of us.   How can we possibly avoid holiday weight gain especially when you have a get together and everyone brings their specialties?
Even the most disciplined of us may not be able to say no to all the tempting plates on the table.  I know things that we only have once or twice a year during the holidays that I just cannot say no to. So what is a health conscious person to do?

There actually are several ways to breeze through the holiday without packing on the pounds.  Most important though is to remember that this time of year is about celebration.  Often this is the only time of year we see family and friends.  Focus on spending time with them and leave yourself a little wiggle room to enjoy yourself.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the holiday season not only healthy but without gaining weight.


  • This tip may sound easy but sometimes it is actually much more difficult than you can imagine – do not stand by the food tables. If possible, move to another room or at least take several steps back.  This way all those goodies are not right there tempting you and calling your name.
  • Stick to your regular eating schedule. If you eat three times a day, continue to eat three times a day.  If you eat four to five times per day, continue to eat that many times.  When we stay on schedule with our eating, we are less likely to arrive at an event hungry.  The worst thing you can do is not eat all day long thinking you are “saving” your calories for the special meal.  Usually what ends up happening is you will consume more than double in calories than you would have by sticking with your regular schedule.
  • Watch the alcohol. Again another tip that may be harder to stay on track with – ESPECIALLY once we start drinking those special holiday cocktails.  Keep track of how many drinks you have consumed and take a break between cocktails by choosing a glass of water.
  • Eating a small healthy meal before the event will help you stay on track but if you find yourself on the hungry side, choose vegetables and fruit from the hors d’oeuvre platters over the heavy breads, dips, and fried options.   If you are the host of a party, be kind and provide some healthy options for your guests.
  • Always stay positive. If you overindulged a bit at a party, let it go and just get right back on track with your next meal.  You do not need to wait for the beginning of the week, month or even for January 1st.  Just get right back on track with your next meal. It’s that simple.

Remember what this time of year is truly about. It’s a season for joy.  Don’t stress if you enjoy some of your annual holiday favorites.  Take the time to chat with your family and friends.  Enjoy giving those gifts you selected for that special person in your life.  Most important is just enjoy each and every moment.

To your health,