5 Rules to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

holiday overindulgence

The average adult gains about 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That might not seem like much. But gaining 1 to 2 pounds a year...for 30 years? That’s a problem. And it’s one reason an estimated 72 percent of all adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maintain, Don’t Gain During the Holidays

If you don’t want to pack on extra pounds and start the New Year on yet another weight loss diet, there are a few things you can do to still enjoy the holidays.

1. Don’t Skip Meals

You might be tempted to skip meals to fit in more shopping, present wrapping, or extra hours at the office before vacation. But skipping meals sets you up for failure. As in, eating way too much when you do finally stop for a bite to eat. Don’t skip meals. Eat a healthy breakfast. Make time for lunch and dinner. And if you feel the need, enjoy some healthy snacks in between.

2. Practice Portion Control

There are lots of ways to do this. For example, eat smaller meals more often. Use a smaller plate. Drink a glass of water before eating. Weigh and measure your food. We don’t like to admit it, but most of us are terrible at guesstimating portion sizes. Think you know what a portion size looks like? Take the Portion Distortion quiz.

3. Plan Ahead to Avoid Overeating

Show up to a party or all-you-can-eat restaurant and head for the buffet table. Load up on whatever looks good. Don’t do that, OK? You need a strategy to avoid overeating. Try this: Eat a leafy green salad first. Then move on to the entrees and desserts. And when you do eat, take your time to chew every bite and enjoy conversation around the table. This gives your brain time to realize you’re eating and helps you feel fuller.

4. Move More, Sit Less

If you’ve ever skipped a workout or exercise session during the holidays to make room for something else on your busy schedule, you’re not alone. But if you want to avoid packing on the pounds, sit less and move more. A brisk 30 to 60-minute walk can burn 150 to 300 calories. Don’t have that kind of time? Break it up into a couple short walks or exercise sessions a day.

5. Get Some Help

If you’re not sure how to navigate all the food choices during the holidays to manage your weight, talk to your doctor or dietitian. These health professionals can help you map out a plan to make better food choices, establish a daily calorie goal, and create a plan to maintain your weight, or lose a few pounds.

Want to eat healthy meals during the holidays? Check out the complete Portion Control menu.