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The Most Wonderful Time to Gain: Avoiding the Holiday Weight

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Oh the holidays. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. It goes without saying, that one of the main reasons it is so wonderful is, of course, the profusion of goodies and treats. This being said, it’s perfectly normal for us to eat more than usual during the holidays. It’s also perfectly normal for us to eat a little less healthier than we would normally. However, as most of us have already experienced, it doesn’t come without consequence. When we reach the end of the festivity rainbow, there is usually no pot of gold, but rather a few extra and unwanted pounds. While frustrating, it is also inevitable. However, there are ways around it. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid the holiday weight gain.



Spend time in the kitchen

Although this may sound strange at first, baking and cooking can be a great tool to avoid the gain. Speaking by experience, it is by actually baking holiday goodies that you come to discover just how naughty these sweet treats can be. When the recipe reads “2 cups shortening, 3 cups sugar, 4 cups flour”, it is quite alarming. However, when you actually measure 2 cups shortening, 3 cups sugar, 4 cups white flour, it becomes quite nauseating. By finding out just how bad it is for you, baking can discourage over-indulgence. Ignorance is no longer bliss, it’s felonious. Rest assured, this doesn’t ruin the fun. It simply compels you to consuming your treats in moderation. Spending some time in the kitchen may even encourage you to make healthier choices. Recipes can often be modified into healthier versions simply by reducing or substituting certain ingredients. Applesauce for oil, whole wheat flour for white flour, or even honey for sugar are all ideas for substitutes. These simple modifications make it easier to avoid adding too many extra pounds.

Don’t go to dinner on an empty stomach

Going to dinner on an empty stomach during the holidays might be one of the worst things you can do. When you are too hungry, not only do you often overestimate your appetite, you also are compelled to devour your meal like it’s the last time you eat. To avoid involuntary binging, it is recommended you eat a bit before dinner; not enough to spoil it, but enough to calm the hungry hippo. Eating less and actually taking the time to enjoy your meal will make the whole experience much better.


Although the idea that we need a distraction not to eat too much may seem a little far fetched, after a month of studying on KD and frozen pizza, it isn’t. The sudden abundance of homemade cuisine can definitely be overwhelming. Nobody blames you. However, there are ways to weasel around eating too much, and socializing happens to be one of them. Engaging in conversation with friends and family is a perfect distraction from eating. Not only are you less compelled to eat, everybody knows it is impolite to speak with your mouth full. The more you set your mind to something else, the easier it’ll be to avoid the holiday binge.



Portion Control

The problem isn’t the piece of pie. The problem is when the piece is half the pie. Portion control is particularly important when eating over the holidays. There are three main issues with holiday food. One, there is too much variety. Two, there is too much of it. And three, it is just too good. Portion control can therefore be a pretty difficult task. Here are a few tricks:

  • Fool your mind by taking a smaller plate;
  • Always underestimate your appetite. Worst comes to worst, there will always be some more if your still hungry;
  • Make choices – you don’t have to try everything;

Making an effort to control your portions can reduce your consumption by half. Find the self-discipline, and you will benefit from it in the end.


Taking your time

One thing you must keep in mind is that eating is not a competition. Quite frankly, the only thing you can win by pounding it down is a few pounds. Nobody wants that. One thing that just might save you from the holiday gain is taking your time. They say it takes your body at least twenty minutes after you eat to realize it is full. When you don’t rush, you are less likely to overeat. Take the time to enjoy and appreciate your meals and it will help you with portion control.



Compensate in exercise

Nothing ruins a good meal more than feeling guilty as we eat it. If you make the decision to have that extra piece of pie, assume it. Enjoy it thoroughly, or don’t eat it. Keep in mind that it’s perfectly okay to have a bad meal once in a while, especially during the holidays. But, instead of feeling badly about yourself, take the initiative to compensate for it either by making healthier choices the next day, or by working it off. We all know it doesn’t go without consequence.   Hitting the gym during winter break might not be very appealing, but it isn’t your only option. Take advantage of the season. Winter is a wonderful time to exercise! Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and skating are all great activities that will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and stay away from gaining.


It’s perfectly normal for us to eat more than usual during the holidays. It’s also perfectly normal for us to eat a little less healthier than we normally would. However, as most of us often experience, it does come with consequences.

Surprise yourself during the holidays. It’s time we stop feeling guilty and find the discipline to fight temptation. Holiday binging is not worth the consequences it can entail. As you must take the time to enjoy it and appreciate it, you must also be careful not to get carried away by all its madness. Keep calm, carry on, and happy holidays to everyone!


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