Last-Minute Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

But that type of thinking only brings pain, frustration, and a lot of hard work down the road. Sometimes the special holiday foods are worth and it, and sometimes… they’re just not.

Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass outlines her last-minute plan of attack.

Here are a few tips to help you pick and use your splurges–wisely:

1. Step back and think about the foods you really enjoy–and try to enjoy those foods. If it’s not a favorite food, don’t waste your precious calories on it. Most indulgences last seconds to minutes, whereas the time it and effort they require to burn off can take hours. There’s usually no shortage of food and if all else fails tell yourself to “have a little now” because there’s always more later. There’s no rush and food always tastes better on a empty stomach.

2. Eat more chicken! This is a tip that works wonders… really. We all know grilled chicken is a healthy component in any meal, but think about using it as a snack… as a tool to help you feel satiated so you can honestly say “no thank-you” to unnecessary holiday treats–without feeling deprived! A simple 3-oz. grilled chicken breast has only 150 calories (think about how you feel after a paltry 100-calorie snack pack; then compare that to how satisfied you feel after eating a chicken breast). Cook a few extra chicken breasts this week and keep them on hand so you are armed and ready when temptations arise.

3. Freeze it! If a neighbor brings you a delicious holiday treat, eat one serving and then freeze the rest of the plate/batch. That way, it’s totally inconvenient and unappetizing when you want seconds (or thirds), but you still have the treat around if you want to enjoy it later… after the food fest has subsided.

4. Eat one portion and then get chewing. Enlisting the support of strong, peppermint-y gum or mints can help you stop eating after one portion. Enjoy your share (1) and then chew gum or suck on a powerful mint so that, if you feel inclined to go for seconds, the taste in your mouth is so strong that it would ruin the enjoyment of seconds and therefore help you to say, “never mind”.

5. At holiday parties, try these two little tricks: first, don’t sit by the food table. Grab a moderate portion of your favorite foods and then sit far, far away. Second, keep talking! Engage yourself in conversation as much as possible; as you do so, you’re less likely to eat… and that’s what the holidays are about anyway–enjoying family, friends, and good, healthy conversation!

6. If you find yourself in a stare-down with a giant chocolate brownie (or any holiday favorite food), as yourself this: “do I really want to wear that?” This is significant stuff, so we’ve got to face the truth: we end up wearing what we eat. Be brutally honest with yourself. We are adults and we don’t have to have everything we want… it’s okay to say no. Your hips will thank you.

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