Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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Hi HG,

Thanks to the Hungry Girl Diet, I finally hit my goal weight this year! But I always gain weight during the winter holiday season. Do you have any foolproof tips to keep me from packing on the pounds this time around?

Yo-Yo No More

Dear Yo-Yo,

First of all, congrats on getting to your goal weight! I love hearing Hungry Girl Diet success stories. Second of all, you're definitely not alone when it comes to holiday weight gain -- it's super common. But it's completely possible to make it into 2015 without gaining a pound. Here are my top tips for every seasonal scenario...

Avoid Holiday Weight GainCocktail Parties
* Eat before you go! Some people skip dinner to make room for all those hors d'oeuvres, but you're much better off having a sensible meal first -- otherwise, you'll probably completely overdo it. Then snack on cut veggies with salsa, shrimp cocktail, and other light bites.

* If you're drinking alcohol, stick with wine, light beer, or mixed drinks made with a single shot of clear liquor and a calorie-free mixer. Having multiple cocktails? Alternate with glasses of water. And don't go overboard... Not only do the calories in alcohol add up, but decadent party snacks can be harder to resist when you’re tipsy.

* Tempted by mini desserts making the rounds? Grab a candy cane instead. It's low in calories, and the minty aftertaste will make you less likely to cave in to a fudgy brownie.

Holiday Meals
* Just like you don't want to skip dinner before cocktail parties, you shouldn't skip breakfast or lunch on the day of a holiday dinner. Eat a protein-packed breakfast and a light lunch.

* Prioritize exercise the day of a feast, so that you'll burn off extra calories before the main event. It doesn't need to be a full-on sweat session: You could just bundle up, and go for a walk! Or do my favorite activity all day: Housewalk!

* Contribute a lightened-up classic to the holiday spread. Then you can indulge without a lick of guilt. Click for tons of recipes!

* Load up three quarters of your plate with lean options: salad, white-meat chicken or turkey, veggies, etc. Then take small portions of those decadent treats you've been craving all year.

* Stick to one plate -- you're less likely to overdo it when you can see exactly how much food you're taking in. Then politely decline taking home heavy leftovers. (If you're hosting, give away as much as you can!)

Other Seasonal Advice
* Stay active all season long! Sure, it's cold outside, but make use of that gym membership, power walk the mall before you get to shopping, and break out the exercise DVDs in your living room. Just keep moving...

* Ignorance is not bliss -- be honest with yourself. Write down everything you eat to keep track of those extra bites. And schedule a weekly weigh-in, to make sure you're staying on the weight-maintenance track.

* Bring smart emergency snacks with you everywhere -- especially on long afternoons of holiday shopping. They'll keep you from reaching for fatty convenience foods.

* Don't let a bad meal become a bad day, week, or month. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make during the holidays. They overindulge early in the season, and then they throw in the towel until after New Year's. Bad idea. The trick is to get right back on track with the very next meal or snack.

There you have it! I know you can do it... Have a happy holiday season!


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