Christmas buffet
Diet & Nutrition

13 Essential Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Weight During the Holidays

Now that the holidays are in full swing, you may be noticing you’ve packed on a few (or not so few!) pounds. If you’re like most people, this season—and the delicious treats that come with it—takes a toll on your waistline. It’s no wonder, when your calendar overflows with parties, big family dinners, bake sales, and other food- and drink-centric merriment. Can you avoid this (sluggish, bloated) yearly fate? Absolutely.

Most people gain an average of ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And at the end of it all, they feel bad and have to start out the new year by digging through the closet in search of the dreaded ‘fat clothes.'”

The good news is you can bypass this depressing cycle of weight gain while still enjoying the season’s festivities. You don’t have to go hungry or crank up your exercise routine. And you can even indulge a little in those tempting guilty pleasures that help make the holidays so special.

Here are my time-tested tips to keep you on track this December:

Decide your health is worth more than any sugar (plum) high. Good health and smart habits all begin in the mind. So convince yourself that you deserve to be healthy (because you do!). You’ll be less tempted to pollute your body with addictive sugar and chemicals—and you’ll think twice before finishing off a bottle of wine or inhaling those leftover gingerbread men.

Speaking of sugar…kick it to the curb NOW. So many of our society’s health issues today stem from sugar. It’s astonishing, but the average American consumes about 150 grams of sugar a day; that is a mind-blowing amount. You can really see the prevalence of sugar around this time of year. And yes, you absolutely can start kicking this habit around the holidays!

I assert that nutritionists across the board recommend consuming no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. The best way to stick to this limit is to keep track of the sugar content in your food. Get used to reading labels, and pay close attention to the sugar content in any packaged product. Finally, realize that manufacturers use many names for sugar, and become familiar with these sugar aliases: dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, and fruit juice.

Learn to talk yourself down from the (buffet) ledge. I don’t believe in diets. says What I do believe in, though, is being reasonable and honest about your food and drink choices. To do so, listen to the small, smart voice in your head that wants you to make the healthiest choices possible. Whether you’re tempted to order takeout after a long day of shopping or you’re eyeing that rum-spiked eggnog or pecan pie, say this…

I can have that _____________, if I really want it. Right now, my body feels _________. If I decide to eat/drink that, my body will feel ___________. Tomorrow morning, I will feel ___________. Do I really want it? Or can I make a different choice?