The average weight gain from Thanksgiving to January 2nd is 7 lbs. “Lose weight” is the number 1 New Year’s resolution year after year. Here are all the supportive tools you need to avoid gaining weight this holiday season without missing any of the fun!

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care Techniques

  • Remember to be kind to yourself.
  • Schedule a little “me time” each day to just relax – even five minutes will do a lot of good.
  • Try some deep-breathing exercises or soak in a warm Epsom salts bath if you have a little more time.

Exercise during the holidays:

  • Choose ways to integrate exercise into your day.
  • Don’t over commit.  Unless you are already involved in an exercise program, this is probably not the best time to start a serious one. 30 mins/day is enough to rev up your metabolism and can even be broken up throughout the day. Aim for at least 4x/week.
  • Make exercise a priority.   Schedule exercise into your day like an appointment.

Plan your food in advance:

  • Plan meals and snacks at least a day in advance to ensure healthy options.
  • Keep your refrigerator stocked with lean protein-rich foods and foods high in fiber so you are always prepared.
  • Keep a food journal and commit to writing down all foods and quantities at the time you eat them – “When You Bite It – Write It!”   Research shows that people who keep food journals eat 15% less food than those who don’t.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day by eating three meals and two snacks.  Eating this way will keep your energy up and make you less vulnerable to making bad food choices.
  • Practice portion control by learning what a serving size looks like. For example, a serving size of any grain is ½ cup – most people eat many more times the portion size of foods like pasta, cereal, rice, etc. This can really put weight on.

Holiday Party Strategies

  • Never go to the party hungry. Have a mini meal before you go and you will have much less of a desire to eat unwanted calories. One of the best combinations is a hard-boiled egg, 8 oz of water and a small apple. You will be satisfied without being full. Now you will have lots more time to socialize!
  • Indulge in a small portion of one decadent treat.  Make sure to chew slowly and savor every bite of your guilt-free splurge.
  • Cleanse your palate. As soon as you are done eating, stick a strong breath mint in your mouth. This completely cleanses your palate and you will no longer have the urge to eat just for the sake of eating.
  • Always, always, always have one glass of water, mineral water or seltzer for every glass of alcohol you consume. This will cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume and counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
  • To counteract the effects of increased alcohol and sugar, be sure to include magnesium-rich foods in your holiday season diet. Magnesium helps the body control the production of cellular energy and promotes heart and nervous system function. When you consume extra alcohol and simple sugars, your need for magnesium increases considerably. Healthy food sources of magnesium include: whole-grains, lean cuts of meat, dark green leafy veggies, some root veggies and almonds. A good supplemental source of magnesium is magnesium glycinate chelate. Many people report that it helps normalize their body’s response to alcohol and sugar during the holidays.
  • Keep the focus on family and friends and remember the reason for the gatherings: a time to celebrate with those you love.

Written by Jacqui Justice, M.S., C.N.S. Clinical Nutritionist