Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

As the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter, activity levels naturally drop and the upcoming holidays tend to involve binging on sweets and starchy foods. 


A 2000 study found that holiday weight gain may be an important contributor to the rising prevalence of obesity. 


The average weight gain in the 6 weeks from mid November to January 1 ranges from 1-5 pounds. 


In a subsequent study, successful weight losers maintained greater exercise, greater attention to weight and eating, greater stimulus control, and greater dietary restraint, both before and during the holidays.


A few tips:

  1. Keep portion sizes of “bad foods” small,just a bite or two of triple chocolate cheesecake may be enough
  2. Increase your exerciseon the days before and after a particularly indulgent event
  3. Load up on cinnamon, it’s a warming herb that has been shown to keep blood sugar levels stable and insulin levels lower
  4. Stay well hydrated and drink 2 cups of water before each meal
  5. Have the soup, studies have shown that soup before a  meal reduces overall caloric intake
  6. Get back on track.  If you go overboard, don’t beat yourself up, just regroup and get back on track with your usual healthy habits.


Source: Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec;58(12):378-9 and J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Jun;76(3):442-8.