You don’t have to gain weight this winter!

The holidays are often filled with joy, love, family, and food. While the first 3 can be enjoyed in abundance, if we go overboard on the food, it can leave us feeling sick, guilty, and sad when our favorite jeans are too tight. I often hear people say, “I just want to enjoy the season…I can always lose the weight afterwards.” My advice is that it doesn’t take food to enjoy the season, and it’s always easier to gain weight than to lose it. So here are my tips to avoid that holiday bulge.

Limit food celebration to 3 days

I understand that some foods are reminiscent of holidays and tradition. For example, in my family, we have giant omelettes every Christmas morning. I also look forward to homemade fudge and eggnog, which I only have in December. Whatever your food traditions are, enjoy them, but not throughout all of November and December. Pick your top 3 days during the season that you can enjoy your holiday favorites without guilt, but then don’t indulge the rest of time. You and your waistline don’t need a glass of eggnog every day!

Avoid giving and getting food

I remember when I was growing up, we hit the jackpot every winter with treats from the neighbors. Homemade fudge, caramel apples, and candied cereal lined our countertops. Now, I dread the thought of having that many sweets tempting me (I am still working on the 3-day rule myself). I was so grateful last year when a neighbor asked if our neighborhood could change tradition and do a “Sub for Santa” in exchange for neighbor gifts. I was thrilled. I didn’t have plates of treats at my house all month, and we were able to help children in need. If you don’t want to organize something like that, simply give non-food holiday gifts, and see if others will follow your lead.

Calorie redistribution

If you find yourself with too many treats and don’t want to throw them away, practice a little calorie redistribution. Instead of making treats for a party, take the ones others have given you! Alternatively, you could share them with neighborhood kids or take them to a potluck, meeting, or to church. Just get them out of sight, so they’re out of your mind!

Exercise

Work out, workout, work out! But keep in mind that you can eat your way out of any workout. Don’t think that just because you’re exercising, you can indulge all month. Still keep food celebrations to 3 days, but exercise every day, if possible. Sign up for a race, put together a family football game, or enjoy the winter sunsets with a walk. Whatever you do, just get up and move this season!

Now none of this is probably new. I apologize if you were looking for the secret to indulging all winter without gaining weight, but the fact remains: weight loss can be hard. It might mean saying no to treats and second helpings or exercising when you don’t want to, but just keep on trying. Remember that you can enjoy some holiday treats, but just like every other month of the year, the same weight loss rules apply…unfortunately.

Happy Holidays!

Megan Ostler MS, RDN
iFit Dietitian