Holiday Weight Gain – Inevitable ?

The ‘holiday’ season is upon us. Do you know what this means? Typically, in this country especially, it means an extra 10-15 pounds hanging around our mid-sections. Or over our belt loops. Or stuffed into too tight jeans that we can barely zip.

You know what I’m talking about. It started yesterday. That’s right – Halloween. Did you sneak candy from your kid’s stash? Or from what you were supposed to be giving out to the neighborhood kids? Take my house for example. My husband came home with five bags of candy. Five! And not the cheap stuff, mind you. The good stuff that I’d actually want to eat!

Guess how many times our doorbell rang?

ZERO !!!!!!

So, where’s all that candy going? Certainly not in my mouth! Ok, maybe one or two. Or twelve. But that’s it! Out the door it goes. Off to work with my husband.

And then there’s Thanksgiving. This starts with appetizers the moment you walk in the door. Not my door, thankfully! Someone else cooks 😉  And there’s wine and other forms of alcohol. So essentially – endless food and drink all before you even think about sitting down to dinner. And what’s for dinner you ask? Well, there’s turkey, ham, and something for the vegetarians. There’s cranberry sauce (you know, from a can) and there’s the other kind that grows on vines. Yeah – vines! I had to look that up.  There’s stuffing in various forms, mashed potatoes whipped to frenzy and sweet potatoes baked in syrupy sweetness. There is also an assortment of vegetables slathered in butter and/or cream. Perhaps one or two sautéed with EVOO and garlic. There are the obligatory dinner rolls or biscuits with more butter. And, maybe there’s a salad – but seriously, who eats that on Thanksgiving? You can have a salad any other day of the year!

Then, approximately anywhere from five minutes after dinner to an hour after dinner – there is dessert. And by dessert, I mean an entire table full of so many different sugary sweets I feel myself expanding just writing this.

And, guess what? After Thanksgiving there is holiday party after holiday party after holiday party.  Translation: more endless appetizers and alcoholic drinks and desserts. And during the month of December, there are those family-oriented holiday dinners. These are all beautifully wonderful events, don’t get me wrong! But I really want to fit into my clothes on January 1st!

Here’s the bad news: A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed holiday weight gain can take up to five months to lose. Five months!!

So… What’s a girl, or guy, to do?

Here are some tips:

  • Have fun!
  • Eat something healthy before you head out the door
  • Maintain your regular exercise routine
  • When faced with a buffet – take a look at everything before piling on your plate
  • Don’t starve before an event; you’ll end up over-indulging
  • Eat regular meals and snacks, aim for healthy, lean proteins and veggies
  • Desserts, yes or no? Yes – but keep it small! One or two bites usually satisfy!
  • If you’re hosting – send everyone home with all the left-overs
  • Drink a glass of water before eating
  • Ditch the soda. Seriously!
  • Chew slowly
  • Do deep breathing exercises, meditation or yoga to reduce stress


Bottom line: Don’t wait for New Year’s Day! Be conscious every day. You’ll be healthier and happier. Your body will thank you later.