stressed and dessert image

The holiday season has quickly approached us and it is important to stay focused during this time. Holidays can be both stressful and enjoyable, but don’t let yourself lose sight of your goals and end up eating your holiday stress. First of all, the myth is that the average person gains between 7- 10 pounds between thanksgiving and new years, but several studies suggest the average weight gain is only about a pound. Here are a few helpful tips to keep that weight in check: 

  1. Focus on weight management NOT weight loss during the holidays. Your goal should be to maintain your weight. Holidays are tough, so don’t make them even tougher by also trying to lose weight. 
  2. Set REALISTIC goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Be true to yourself. You know what you are going to do and what you won’t do.  
  3. Keep an honest food diary. If you have been keeping track of your food, don’t stop now. Keep track of your food and be honest. Remember, if you bite it, write it! 
  4. Choose wisely – “What do I really want and enjoy?” Examine the food available BEFORE picking up your plate and think about what you really want and enjoy and only put that on your plate. Also, don’t deprive yourself. Remember MODERATION. It is okay to have a little bit. Maybe take a spoonful of everything you enjoy, but don’t over do it! 
  5. If you are going out and are unsure if there will be healthy food that you will want, make a healthy dish and bring it with you and/or eat something small before you go (i.e. small salad or piece of fruit). 
  6.  Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Remember it’s a LIFESTYLE 
  7. Anticipate stressful or difficult situations and PLAN how you will handle thesechallenges. It’s easier to deal with a situation if you have planned ahead. Also, remember to set realistic expectations 
  8. Get Moving! Continue your routine and stay active. This is a great time to be activewith the whole family. Encourage family or friends to take a walk with you. Start a new family tradition- sign up for a Turkey Trot or just take a family walk together while the turkey is cooking and/or after the thanksgiving meal. 

**Celebrations are really about family and friends — not food.

Do you have a health tip to share that helps you stay healthy during the holidays? Please leave a comment with your health tip and/or questions.

 Rachel L. Goldman, Ph.D.