Dec 11, 2011

Motivation Monday: Your Holiday Eating Survival Guide

Is it just me, or are we being overrun by Christmas cookies? Holiday treats are literally everywhere. I go to Trader Joes, there they are. I go to Target, there they are. I go to work, oh look, there they are again! How is any one person supposed to navigate this nutritional minefield? One answer I learned this week during a conversation with some work friends. It went something like this:

Person A: "Would you like some salted caramel chocolates?"
Person B: "Mmmm, sure....but my gut has been growing from all these goodies lately"
Person A: "It's okay. Enjoy it now and you can lose weight after the holidays"
Person B: "Okay!" (proceeds to eat salted caramel chocolates)

Before you ask, I was neither person A nor B. I was person C, who was strategically silent during the conversation. In my opinion, the "eat now, lose it later" scenario is all too common. And I get it. "Celebrating the season" oftentimes is loosely translated to mean eating a lot! And with this motto, it's very difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

This sums up weight gain/weight loss basics:

Of course, the same is true vice versa. If you eat 500 calories more than you burn, you'll gain 1 lb per week. This is REALLY easy during the holidays because a few chocolates, cookies and candies here and there add up to 500 calories super quickly. Gaining weight does more than make your clothes too tight, it also can increase your risk for high blood pressure, high blood fats (hyperlipidemia), and other chronic diseases, especially if a person is overweight long-term. 

So how can we enjoy holiday treats without overdoing it? Here are some simple steps I follow that allow me to enjoy the foods I love without gaining weight.

Holiday Eating Survival Guide:
  1. Enjoy only those foods that you LOVE. 
    • Don't "waste calories" by grazing on unhealthy foods you don't even enjoy that much. Only eat treats that you really, reeeally love, and make sure the portion is small.
  2. Limit sweet treats in the house. 
    • Since there will be many temptations once you step outside the home (think: work, parties, friends houses, etc), limit treats lying around the house.
  3. Find non-food ways to celebrate the season.
    • Think of creative, festive, non-food ways of celebrating the holidays. Take a drive to see Christmas lights, do holiday crafts with your kids, or make Christmas cards to send to family. A little creativity goes a long way here.   
  4. Acknowledge what food is yours and what food is not.
    • Just because treats are offered doesn't mean you have to eat them. Politely say "that looks great, but no thanks" or something of that nature and you can help avoid holiday overeating. 
All in all folks, it's absolutely possible to enjoy treats without unwanted weight gain. Stay positive, make healthy choices most of the time and eat treats sensibly. Coming out of the holiday season knowing you were strong and smart enough not to overindulge will make you feel better than having a new set of love handles. True story.


  1. :( I'm having a hard time saying no to holiday sweets this year. I'm not sure why this year is so much harder than others, but it definitely is.

    That said, I love your "weight gain/weight loss basics" image - it's nothing but the truth!

  2. Thanks Susan! It's hard for me to say no too! Stay strong :)

  3. Some of these treats are just so tempting this time of year. I am fine for the most part since I seldom purchase/bake sweets at home and I work in a health-conscious environment....but when I am around my family the days before and after Christmas is when I really struggle! There is just always goodies around and everyone encouraging you to try out each thing they made. It can certainly be difficult to keep the balance of being respectful and appreciative of the people who made special goodies and not overconsuming!

  4. I hear ya! It's so tempting....definitely hard to find the balance between sensible indulging and over the top indulging. Either way, hope you have a great Christmas holiday!

  5. I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
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