The Science of Motivation

Top 10 Ways to Stop Holiday Weight Gain In Its Tracks


You know the deal - every year we fight a waistline battle around the holidays.  Office gatherings, neighborhood parties, eating out while shopping - the opportunities for excess calories are aplenty.

The deck is stacked against you.  …Or is it?

Check out our list below to come out on the other end of New Year's Day with your waist size intact and maybe ahead of where you started.

1.  Keep An Eye On Your Portions

This step may be the cornerstone of your effort to stave off holiday weight-gain.  Going into a situation where there are going to be a lot of temptations, have a plan for controlling how much you will consume, i.e. whatever I can fit on one small hors d'oeuvre plate or what will fit in the center portion of a dinner plate and that’s it.  You’ll be accountable to yourself and less likely to binge.

2.  Be Active During the Holidays

There’s no time like the present to get active - you don’t have to wait for the holidays.  With that said though, building up a sweat will help counter over-indulgences and maybe motivate you to not sabotage the benefits of your hard work in the gym or on the road.

3.  Eat Your Veggies! 

Raw veggies, like the kind often served at parties, provide fiber (see #9) and are satisfying.  Fill up on as much as you can before trying out the naughtier options on the party table.  Take it easy on the dairy-based dips that often accompany the veggie tray.

4.  Make Sure You Are Sleeping Enough  

Interestingly, there is a connection between sleep deprivation and the excessive consumption or unhealthy foods.  Make sure you are getting enough rest during this busy time of year.  Your scale will thank you.

5.  Bring A Healthy Dish

One of the best ways to control what you eat at an event is to bring your own dish(es).  Make something healthy, that you like, and you’ll have an automatic counter to the over- temptation of unhealthy choices.

6.  Get More Protein 

While being healthy as well, protein packed foods are filling.  Incorporating these options in your holiday diet, particularly before a party, will help curb overeating.

7.  Keep Stress At Bay

Excessive stress, particularly the kind often experienced around the holidays, can contribute to excess production of the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol can cause blood sugar to drop and in turn bring on cravings for fattening, sugar-laced foods.  Try to chill during the holidays if you can, get a massage, listen to music, check-out however you can, just keep stress to a minimum.

8.  Eat Before Holiday Gatherings

I liken this tactic to the one used before grocery shopping.  Being full, you’ll eat less of everything at the party, particularly the wrong things.  Fill up with healthy, filling options before you go.

9.  Get Your Fiber

Foods with significant amounts of fiber are filling and will keep you satisfied.  Stay properly hydrated to take full benefit.  Additionally, making sure you have enough fiber in your diet during the holidays will…umm…uh…keep things moving.  Aaaand, on to the next and final step.

10.  Focus On Socializing

The whole point of holiday gatherings is to get together with people we care about, and sometimes with people we don’t - be nice please ; ) If you focus on connecting with people at the event and less on eating excessive amounts of fruit cake, you’ll come out ahead in the holiday weight-maintenance game. 


Thanks for reading and please take care of yourself during this holiday season.  - J