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7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Just a few days till Thanksgiving. Want to avoid Thanks-gorging? Follow these 7 tips to avoid the holiday feast trap.

Mini pumpkins: good-looking and healthy; just like you!

Mini pumpkins: good-looking and healthy; just like you!

Make it the Season of Giving, not the Season of Sitting & Eating!

You’ve just spent ten and a half months exercising and eating healthfully. Now Thanksgiving is a few days away, which signals the start of the “Eat Too Much; Move Too Little” time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We all know we should stick to our healthy habits, yet it’s sooooo hard! So we’re sharing Seven Seasonal Suggestions to help you make it to January with your intentions intact.

Easy Tips to Avoid Weight Gain

1. Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.

2. Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories when dinner is served. By the time that occurs, you’re likely to be so hungry that you’ll overeat or choose whatever is closest.

3. Sort foods into 3 categories:

  • Food I love and will probably have two helpings of;
  • Food I like and will take just one helping of;
  • Food I don’t need to eat at all.

Planning and paying attention have a definite effect on how much you pile on your plate.

4. Use a salad plate instead of dinner plate.  You’ll be inclined to eat less. Most of us are visually triggered, so we stop adding food once our plate looks full, regardless of plate size.

Stop Eating Before you get that Greasy, Queasy Feeling

Stop Eating Before you get that Greasy, Queasy Feeling

5. Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you once you’re done. Also, put food away right after you’ve finished dinner or you could end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. If you feel you’re being impolite, just say, “I’m putting stuff in the fridge now so I don’t feel tempted to overeat. Anyone who’s still hungry is more than welcome to help themselves.” Not only are you letting people know why you’re putting food away quickly, you’re also making yourself accountable by stating your goal to not overeat.

6. Use your mind to decide what matters. When loading your plate, ask yourself this question: “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” No right or wrong answer exists; it’s simply that the awareness of your choices will help you make a considered decision as you realize that you are in control, not the food.

7. Go for a walk. What better way to spend quality time with your family or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside? Need more motivation to move during the holidays? Give a listen to our radio episode, “Be Motivated to Move Through the Holidays.

Get outside for a Walk

Get outside for a Walk

What tips would you add to this list? 






Photo Credits: morgueFile

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About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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13 Responses to 7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

  1. Virginia November 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Great suggestions!
    I would add this one: Do the cooking, or at least hang out in the kitchen to enjoy the cooking smells. New research is showing that appetite can be decreased when there is sensory smell overload. (I know, it seems counter-intuitive.) Be sure to sip green tea while you cook, and have a plate of raw veggies to nibble on!

    • AlexandraFunFit November 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      What? I’d love a link to that research if you have it handy Virginia, as that is something we’d love to share. Maybe that’s why I can bake so much and not gain weight – I don’t really want to eat it once it’s ready. Thanks for the green tea trick. I’ll try that too.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Can Walking Really Get You to Your (Fit) Destination?My Profile

  2. Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) November 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Great tips!

    I’d add another food category: foods that I just want a taste of. Because I sometimes find that two or three bites is enough to keep me from feeling deprived. I can save a lot of calories by taking tiny servings instead of what I think of as “normal.”

    I can add a variation to number 4. I sometimes put salad on the dinner plate and everything else on the salad plate. Then I get to eat as much volume as everyone else but with the proportion that works for me.
    Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) recently posted..Two Bookish Twitter Events to Put on Your CalendarMy Profile

  3. Jody - Fit at 56 November 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Yes! I pretty much eat like normal – I go after the healthy turkey meat & they all know to make veggies plain for me. :) I have trained everyone! I only eat the treats that are a 9-10 out of 10 for me & I do not gorge! I always get my workout in before the day starts too & like you said – I move away from the food that tempts me! :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday and Life & Death & LifeMy Profile

  4. Kristin November 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Such great tips! I always try to eat on smaller plates at home and I bet I wouldn’t have thought of that for Thanksgiving – thanks for the reminder! I think it’s so important to categorize your food – I’m not a huge mashed potato person, so why should I take some just because it’s Thanksgiving? Gotta prioritize and get those other items I can only get at Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing!
    Kristin recently posted..Elf for HealthMy Profile

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities November 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Going for a WALK is a must after dinner to DIGEST! :) Oh but wait, I am too rolly, polly, ollie to actually do it! LOL!!! But I always say, if you’re scared about what’s being served -be in charge of one or two dishes so you know EXACTLY what’s going in to them!

  6. Linz @ Itz Linz November 26, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    great tips! i’d also add “don’t hangout in the kitchen.” i’m always more likely to nosh if the food is right there so i try to move away and have my conversation with friends and family elsewhere
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..17 Weeks Pregnant | A Case of the SnifflesMy Profile

  7. Mary Buchan November 26, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    Great health tips! I love the Thanks-Gorging line. Very clever.

  8. Nicki Anderson November 26, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Great post. I also tell people to keep some of the casserole veggies on the side so they can be served in their natural state. Then you can mix some of the overindulgent foods with the healthy stuff.
    Nicki Anderson recently posted..Thanksgiving- Lost in TranslationMy Profile

  9. Tara Burner November 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    great tips!
    or do what I do…don’t celebrate and go walk at the park! LOL
    Tara Burner recently posted..How Healthy Is Your Brain?My Profile

  10. Dave December 4, 2013 at 5:00 am #

    Some great tips. I would like to add try filling up on meat before going hell for leather for the potatoes and all the other tempting carbs ;)
    Dave recently posted..Can I Eat Well and Still Lose Weight?My Profile


  1. Weekly Reader: Quick Wisdom from the Web - December 5, 2013

    […] & Fit, Seven Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain. Great tips from Alexandra and Kymberly to stay active and healthy during the holidays and avoid […]

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