Five tips to avoid holiday weight gain

Here are five tactics to help you steer clear of putting on weight during the holiday season:

1. Be realistic. It’s no fun to be stressed out and trying to lose weight during the holidays. Instead, aim to hold the line at your current weight.

2. Shop smart. Celebrate the season with festive and healthy items. Look for fat-free eggnog, apple cider, unsalted nuts, whole-grain crackers, fresh vegetable and fruit platters, and low-fat dips.

3. Keep hunger in check. Have a light, healthy snack before going to a party so you won’t be famished and overdo it once you arrive.

4. Enjoy yourself. You can eat your favorite foods, but choose small portions. Go easy on high-calorie beverages and be choosy at the buffet table—you don’t have to sample everything.

5. Make time for exercise. It’s a great way to burn calories and lower stress. Get up a half hour early so that you can fit it in. Walk a lap around the mall before gift shopping. Reconnect with family by making a holiday hike or other activity a new tradition.

These same tactics can help you cope with birthday parties and other special occasions during the year.

If you do overindulge, don’t dwell on it. Just get back to your exercise and eating plan the next day. With a little care, you can enjoy that cheesecake without having to loosen your belt a notch. 

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