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How to Party this Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight
By Rebecca Mohning   View more articles by this author
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December 27

The holiday season is upon us and we usually go to the holiday party with good intentions--to make healthy choices--but sometimes we fail. It can be difficult if the choices offered are not low calorie foods. Or if we arrive starving, then the tendency is to eat more and we often end up making poorer choices. The best thing you can do in this situation is make sure to have a light snack before going to the party so that you don’t feel as hungry and as tempted by the food choices when you get there.  Go in with a game plan and decide ahead of time how much food you will be eating; once you’re there, look for lower calorie foods to fill your plate, and limit alcoholic beverages. Offer to bring a dish; this way you can ensure that you have something there that you can eat that is low in calories and delicious. Spend more time socializing at the party away from the buffet table. Keep a low calorie beverage in your hand to keep it occupied and prevent extra nibbles. Pick and choose your favorites--at big meals, decide where you want to spend your calories. Select the foods you really love and let other items pass you by. Remember, portion control is the secret to weight management. Eat slowly and savor! Good luck this holiday season!

How Your Guests Can Help…or Not.

Holidays can be a stressful time and can be even more so if you are trying to keep up with your weight loss goals.  Friends and family can provide helpful support, but they can also pose an extra challenge when it comes to sticking to your diet during the holiday season. That is, if you tell your family and friends that you are trying to lose weight they can make it easier for your or you may still get the food pressures. When food pressures arise in the form of friends or family offering a tasty food, take some to please them, but just take a small sample. Another way around this is to offer to bring your own dishes to their party or offer to host at your house so you are in control of the food choices. On the other hand friends and family can be very supportive and if they know you are trying to lose weight they may go out of their way to provide healthier choices at their party. They can also provide support when it comes to sticking with your game plan at the party. Surround yourself this holiday with those that provide a healthy experience.

The holidays can be a challenging time to avoid unwanted weight gain. The average American gains 5 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. If you are trying to lose weight this holiday season you may want to consider working on maintaining which is more realistic. Follow these tips to avoid any unnecessary calories:

  • Don't try to diet. Your goal should be to maintain weight, not lose it. 
  • To avoid indulging in high-fat fast food when your days become hectic, pre-plan several quick, healthy meals and have them readily available for reheating. 
  • Don't try to cut out high-fat holiday favorites like eggnog and candied sweet potatoes. Instead, choose small portions and fill your plate with lower fat choices, such as apples, cranberry dishes, baked squash, pumpkin, breads, and pastas. 
  • Eat something before going to a party with alcohol. The effects of alcohol are felt much more quickly on an empty stomach and can lead to overeating and overdrinking. Also, try to drink one glass of water before each glass of an alcoholic beverage. 
  • Center entertainment on non-food events such as playing indoor sports, renting a holiday movie, or singing carols. 
  • Offer to bring a favorite low-calorie dish to holiday parties, so you know there will be at least one "safe" item available. Arrive fashionably late and stand far away from buffets so you're not tempted to nibble constantly. Instead, indulge in conversation.
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