How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving Day feasts, Christmas Eve cookies, and lots of leftovers, the holiday season brings some of the best food of the year. But for those trying to lose or even maintain their weight, it can be anxiety-inducing. 

If that’s you, you might be worried about losing the progress you’ve worked so hard to achieve. That doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, it’s completely possible to enjoy all your favorite holiday foods without wrecking your progress. That said, here are some tips on how to avoid gaining weight this holiday season:

  1. Eat your holiday favorites in moderation. If apple pie is your absolute favorite dessert, have a slice. The holidays are a special and joyous time of year and you deserve to have what you love. The important part is to do so in moderation. Instead of grabbing a sampler platter of every dessert available (we’ve all done it), stick to what you know you love.  
  2. Don’t save your calories. It may be tempting to skip breakfast and lunch before a big holiday dinner. Rather than doing that, have smaller but still filling meals so that you don’t show up ravenous. By coming to a holiday gathering ravenous, you’re setting yourself up to overeat or feel out of control.
  3. Think about drinks. Everyone enjoys a festive holiday cocktail, but be cautious about how many calories you’re drinking. That fancy cup of cheer is likely loaded with sugar and calories. Just like with dessert, practice moderation. Alternating drinks with water or looking into skinny versions of cocktails is one way to limit your caloric intake when it comes to drinks.
  4. Bring a healthy side dish to share. Thanksgiving turkey, potatoes, and stuffing are absolute classics, but there’s no reason you can’t add a healthy side to the mix. A dish like roasted vegetables, a tasty salad, or another low-calorie appetizer can help you fill up your plate with a delicious and filling option so you don’t feel deprived. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of 29 healthy Thanksgiving sides for some ideas.   
  5. Don’t let one bad day snowball into a bad season. Nobody’s perfect. You may have grabbed one plate too many of leftovers, sneaked a second (or third) slice of pecan pie, or drank a lot of calories with holiday cocktails. If you overindulged more than you wanted to or saw the scale go up after a bad week, don’t feel discouraged. Forgive yourself for overindulging and get right back into those healthy habits! 

2020 has been a trying year for everyone, and you shouldn’t have to end it feeling overly anxious about your weight or trying to avoid all the holiday foods you love. By keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy that pie, stuffing, cookies, and other holiday treats without having to start over again in 2021.