Surviving the Holidays Without Gaining a Pound

Surviving the Holidays Without Gaining a Pound

The opportunities to eat around the holidays seem endless, beginning on Halloween and not ending until New Year’s Day. Toss in an out-of control list of things to do – from parties to host and attend to gifts to wrap and ship – and it’s no wonder most of us pack on the holiday pounds. But this year can be different. Before the frenzy begins, establish a plan and detailed schedule for how you will manage all the things you need to do between now and New Year’s Day.

A few ideas to help ease the holiday stress:

 Consider shopping online
 Send out a holiday newsletter or photo card to everyone on your list
 Scale back your social calendar to allow some down time to enjoy the spirit of the season

Even though it seems impossible to squeeze in more activities, your fitness routine is a priority. Physical activity of any kind, whether  working out at the gym, doing a fitness tape at home, fast walking at the mall or going for a daily walk – helps you cope with stress while it burns calories and keeps muscles strong.


Don’t Strive for Diet Perfection
Once you have your to-do list under control, the next task is figuring out how to enjoy the bounty of food without going on an eating frenzy. My strategy to get through the holidays without gaining a pound is to aim for “social weight maintenance.” Forget about weight loss and focus on keeping the needle on the scale right where it is today. Don’t expect to be perfect around the holidays. For the next six weeks, you need to allow yourself some flexibility so that you can enjoy your favorite holiday foods.

To maintain during the holidays, enjoy small portions of your holiday favorites but be careful not to go overboard. Follow the “80/20 rule”:  80% of the time, you eat healthy foods and 20% of the time, you splurge a little on those once-a-year favorites. And 100% of the time, do at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity.


Focus on Fun, Family and Friends
Don’t let food have the spotlight. Take the focus off food by getting family and friends involved in some fun activities during holiday parties. Go outside for a walk, sledding, ice skating, or building snowmen. Indoors, try a spirited game of charades, or rent an instructional dance video followed by a dance-off. Dancing goes hand in hand with the holidays so why not make dancing after eating a new holiday tradition for a great form of fun and recreation?

I went Overboard!  The best-laid plans sometimes fail. If you over indulge, don’t beat yourself up but make a pledge to be more in control next time. To compensate, eat a little less and exercise a little more the next day and learn from it so it won’t happen again at the next holiday function. Establish your own personal ground rules and do your best to stick to them, at least 80% of the time. Prioritize a little exercise every day; it will pay you back with renewed energy, stress control and even help you sleep. And remember to relax and enjoy, the holidays are supposed to be fun!


Holiday parties are much more than food and drinks. They are a time to delight in the traditions of the season, and enjoy the company of family and friends. If you keep the focus on the spirit of the season and heed the diet advice, you should get through the holidays without gaining a pound.

Source: By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the November 2014 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.


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