6 Tips to Stress Less & Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Dec 14 2016
Question@2x Dear Hungry Girl,

I get SO stressed during the holiday season, and that usually leads to weight gain. Any advice on how I can avoid this downer of a holiday tradition?

Santa's Little Stresser
Answer@2x Hi Santa's Little Stresser,

You're not alone. This time of year is full of fun, but it's also full of frazzled folks! And when you're stressing out, it can be difficult to keep those extra pounds away. The trick is to plan ahead. This way, you'll have healthy choices available when that holiday stress hits. Take a deep breath, and read my tips for a calm, no-weight-gain holiday season!

Meal prep on Sundays. Stick to this weekend ritual, and you'll breathe easy all week long. On Sunday morning, go through your calendar so you know what the week ahead looks like. Then, plan out healthy meals and snacks to have between the parties, office dinners, shopping excursions, etc. Write up your grocery list, and make one big trip for the week. If any elements can be prepped early (for example, cooking up a pound of chicken to use during the week), get it done. Chop, chop!

Don't keep leftover treats at home. If you're hosting a party, generously accept the treats that others bring. But when the party's over, say "sayonara!" Don't leave leftover brownies and cake in your fridge. When stress levels are high, your willpower can be low. Toss 'em or bring the goodies to work to share with others.

Schedule self-care on your calendar. When craziness ensues, self-care is usually one of the first things to go. But it's more crucial than ever that you take care of yourself this time of year. Otherwise, you could burn out from exhaustion and completely give up on your smart-eating plan. Schedule self-care activities, like exercising or manicures, just like you would any other appointment. Plan them in advance, put 'em on your calendar, and follow through!

Cook up big-batch healthy meals. If you know things are going to get hectic, whip up multi-serving recipes. Cook once, eat all week! Chili (like this tasty turkey one) and casseroles (check out this chicken and cauliflower-rice creation) are both busy-season staples. If you have a slow cooker, use it to make easy set-it-and-forget-it meals. And don't forget about breakfast. Here are some make-ahead morning recipes for you!

Be a smart traveler. On days you'll be traveling, always plan your meals and snacks in advance. Pack smart emergency snacks, and drink plenty of water. If you're flying, leave yourself time to check out the airport meal options. When you arrive at your destination, hit up a grocery store to stock up on healthy staples! Get more travel survival strategies here.

Simplify where you can. There's so much activity during the holidays, and a lot of people go overboard. But think of ways to make your life easier. Instead of buying gifts for every single coworker, why not suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange? And if you're hosting a dinner party, go potluck to relieve the pressure of making every last thing. (I've got a ton of recipes for such an occasion!) Use paper and plastic goods to reduce cleanup time. There are some really festive ones out there! Lastly, be okay with saying "no." If an event you're invited to is going to stress you out, politely decline. Your sanity is worth it!

Hope this helps... Happy holidays!

Chew on this:

Today, December 14th, is National Bouillabaisse Day. Celebrate with this super-yummy Slow-Cooker Seafood Stew!

Who couldn't use this stress-less advice? Click "Send to a Friend" now!

Have a Question for Hungry Girl?

Send it in! She answers new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).

Social

We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.