Avoid Holiday Weight Gain - 7 Simple Tips to Navigate Holiday Eating

Written by: Jacqueline Walters, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

We are entering one of the most beautiful times of the year. However, for most of us, the holiday season can also be one of the most stressful times of the year as well. And for those who are already struggling to manage their weight, these events can heighten the frustration. That’s why I put together my 7 Simple Tips to navigate holiday eating and avoid the average 7-10 pound weight gain over the next 6 weeks.

Holiday meals are meant to be enjoyed, just like they are designed for us to enjoy our loved ones during these special occasions. Similar to the way most of us have to navigate certain family members with a game plan during these events, I find it easier to have a game plan to navigate holiday meals as well. I find it centers and grounds me so I can remember who's in control while heading into an experience where typically, in the past, I wouldn't have been mindful or considered myself “in control” of my actions at all!

It just takes small changes, slowly over time. So here are my 7 Simple Tips to consider before we enter this 2020 holiday season;

1. It’s all about WATER!

Water is always my number one weight loss or weight-management tip. It's so easy to focus on adding something into your diet rather than trying to eliminate something. The typical water goal is half your weight in ounces. With any event, especially holidays, I always focus on drinking water consistently throughout the day. Bring a water bottle with you to the event and drink throughout, as this will make you feel naturally more full and prevent overeating. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate between one alcoholic drink and then one glass of water to ensure you don't get dehydrated and can still keep your water goal top of mind.

2. DON'T starve yourself in anticipation!

This is such an important tip to remember. Don't starve yourself all day in anticipation of overeating. This sets you up to fail. If your health & weight loss is important to you, then look at this meal as a regular dinner with just more indulgent options. All of which you can definitely eat and still lose weight. You just have to be conscious and figure out how to make that work for you. It's all about grounding yourself and becoming aware of your surroundings in anything you do in life, not just weight loss. So make sure to eat a regular healthy breakfast and lunch if you know you're going to indulge at dinner. By eating throughout the day before attending a holiday dinner, you set yourself for success and stay on your weight loss goals. It's so much easier to stay focused on your goals and to listen to your body's cues when you aren't starving!

3. Don’t Hang out by the Food Tables

Be conscious of your environment. A really easy tip to follow is to not hang out around the snack and food tables. There is so much food we mindlessly eat prior to sitting down to the main holiday meal (it's how these events are designed). To combat this by just bringing this to your awareness. Make a plate of the snacks that look good to you, then sit down and eat it while connecting with family. Don’t choose a spot that's in arms reach of more snacks to mindlessly start munching on because this is how we easily finish a full bag of chips without even realizing we did! I’ve been there before...it’s normal because we are human! So don’t be ashamed; just start being more aware of this habit and the triggers.

4. Make a PLAN to Indulge

Going into the event with a plan to indulge is the best way of avoiding mindless and overeating. There are so many tasty and delicious traditional foods at a holiday meal. But just because it's there...doesn't mean you will enjoy it. Have a plan, and think ahead of time about what you really want to indulge in. For me, that's stuffing! I'm not a huge mashed potato fan, so why would I "overdo it" on something I won't even enjoy. It's that simple. A great strategy is to decide what foods you want to have (the ones you will REALLY enjoy) and skip the ones that don't appeal to you. Get focused, and make a plan for what you really want, and then100% indulge and enjoy without the guilt or shame! Remember, it’s important to just move on the next day and stop the cycle of overindulging before it becomes a pattern.

5. CONTRIBUTE to the Meal

Take back your control! Whether you are asked to or not, contribute to the meal by bringing something you made yourself and have control over what's in it. Follow me on social media (links below) for some of my simple weight loss swaps & hacks and get creative with a delicious but healthy (or healthier) version of a typical holiday dish. Therefore you know you have at least one thing on the spread that you can enjoy AND is good for you too. I love to bring my ‘Sexy Pecan Salad’ to contribute to holiday meals, but what about a variety of roasted fall veggies? Or a simple veggie tray to bring along with you? There are always so many decadent dishes and desserts at these meals or brought by other guests. People will thank you for bringing something healthy to the meal, opposed to another platter of cookies! *email me for the ‘Se