Have a Holiday Season That’s Happy, Not Heavy

Lori Boxer
Weight★No★More℠ Diet Center



The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are filled with lots of food festivities and socializing. Whether it’s dining out, going to a holiday party, or seeing treats everywhere, from the office to the candy jar at your favorite store, the holiday season really puts our willpower to the test. 


This is also the season for running around, shopping, and going all day (and sometimes evenings too!) without much of a break. 


Every event may seem like an excuse to splurge but, if you do, you’re going to suffer both emotional and physical consequences. However, with some planning there is no reason why you can’t come out healthier — and maybe even a few pounds lighter — than you were before.


So, here are some tips that I’ve successfully used with clients. Even if you just incorporate a few of them into your daily routine, you are taking a step in the right direction, and by the new year, these small steps may develop into full-fledged habits.


1. Do . . . not . . . skip . . . meals! 


If you do, I guarantee you will probably end up eating just about anything you can get your hands on when you get to starving mode, and blood sugar drops. 


2. Eat structured meals.


Eat well-balanced meals with some protein and fiber to help keep your blood sugar steady. Yogurt with fruit in the morning and a salad with grilled chicken or beans for lunch can certainly sustain you and also leave some room in your tummy for your favorite treat here or there.


3. Pack healthy snacks before you head out. 


A piece of fruit and string cheese, a yogurt with an apple, a few one-cup size servings of carrots or other raw veggies make great choices to keep your hunger at bay.


4. Do pre-party planning.


  • Do not “save up” all day before a big holiday meal or cocktail party – eating a super light breakfast and lunch and no snacks to try to cancel out the calories that you’ll be consuming that evening; or, worse, starving yourself all day until the big event. This approach is a terrible idea for several reasons, but one thing is certain: It’s impossible to make sound eating decisions when you arrive at a party ravenous.


  • Before going out or on your way to the party, have a healthy snack to curb your appetite.


  • Bring your own food: Contribute a healthy dish to a gathering to ensure there’s something you can indulge in. Also consider bringing a low-fat, lower-calorie dessert to ensure there’s something you can have with coffee later.


  • Downsize your plate to trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. Use smaller plates and serving utensils . . . and this, believe me, really works. So, for example, since almost all holiday parties of large gatherings are buffet style, when you go to serve yourself use a salad or dessert plate for the main course and instead of the large serving utensils that will be provided use a teaspoon to serve yourself.


  • Choose foods wisely. Fill your plate with low-calorie items, such as leafy green salads, vegetable dishes, and lean proteins, and taking smaller portions of the richer ones. That way, you can eat a larger amount of food for fewer calories and not feel deprived.


  • Make sure you have sugar-free mints in your purse or pocket. When you’ve had enough (and don’t want to eat more), pop one in your mouth. The feeling of a fresh palate can curb additional noshing.


5. Pour wisely.


When pouring yourself a glass of wine, to get an estimated 4-ounce serving, don’t rely on just filling up a glass halfway, since many glasses are half full of 10 ounces of wine, which quickly turns a 125-calorie glass into a 250-calorie one. If possible, use a champagne flute because they’re taller and narrower. Here’s what 6 oz. looks like in various-shaped wine glasses, but keep in mind that 4 oz. = 1 Fruit.




6. Don’t go hungry to the mall.


  • To cut down on the lure of the food court, you should never go to the mall on an empty stomach but especially so during the holiday season when it’s busier, more crowded, you tend to be there for many more hours than usual, and you tend to get more stressed while there. Bring healthy snacks with you to munch on while you’re shopping.


  • When it comes time to take a break for lunch, either be prepared by having brought your own (it’s easy to pack a couple cups of salad and grilled chicken) or choose a proper restaurant over the grab-and-go food court whenever you can. Most good malls have at least one decent sit-down restaurant such as Ruby Tuesday’s who, for example, has a great salad bar to choose from. 


7. Keep up your exercise, fitness, or sports routine.


No matter how busy you get, no matter how tempted you might be to give it up in order to get another hour or two of shopping done, be committed and determined to get in your exercise or workouts. Don’t give them up. 


8. Choose your indulgences.


Stave off feelings of deprivation by planning to intentionally indulge wisely.


Instead of wasting calories on foods that you can have at any time of the year, pick items that are truly special and unique to the season, like your grandmother’s candied yams or your daughter’s first batch of Christmas cookies.


9. Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. 


Alcohol increases your appetite and diminishes your ability to control what you eat.


10. Stay hydrated.


Water. Water. Water. All day long.


  • Do not underestimate the importance of water to ward off fatigue as you’re running around for hours at a time doing holiday shopping.


  • Having to pee several times a day might be inconvenient, but if you’re not peeing it out, you’re holding on to it . . . which means you’ll feel puffy and bloated. 


  • Too often when you think you’re hungry, you’re just thirsty. 


  • Alcohol dehydrates you, another reason to keep alcohol to a minimum when you’re at a party.


It is possible to maintain — and not gain — during the holidays. And if you work hard to maintain, chances are you might even lose a pound or two.

Slimcerely yours℠,

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