5 Ways to Skirt Holiday Weight Gain

5 Ways to Skirt Holiday Weight Gain

Want a guilt-free way to feast on holiday fare without loading up on all the button-popping, belly-bulging calories? No problem. Just use this 5-tip holiday action plan.

Replace temptations. Piling up holiday "goodies" (think pumpkin pie, cookies and fudge) in plain sight can prompt you to eat twice as much, twice as fast. Instead, keep alternate goodies, such as walnuts, pistachios, cinnamon-spice tea, juicy oranges and ruby-red pomegranates, within easy reach.

Don't skip exercise. Just make it short and sweet. Sticking with your routine during the busy holidays can be tougher than finding a radio station not playing Jingle Bells. Go for three 10-minute walks each day for a total of 30 minutes, and you're good. Too cold out for a walk? Use this home-workout video to walk inside, where it's warm.

Choose libations wisely. Beer and red wine both raise your appetite-triggering hormones—a sure-fire prompt for a return trip to the holiday buffet table. Choose a chardonnay or Riesling instead. These white wines didn't have the same hunger-boosting effect in one study.

Use buffet-table strategies. You're less likely to inhale hearty helpings from every dish if you check out the entire spread first. We call it "eye your pie before you try." Stake out a seat where you can't see the feast, and choose only one or two specialties (Uncle Eddie's meatballs or Aunt Edna's spinach dip, for example) instead of three or four. You eat more calories when you have more choices.

Practice moderation, not deprivation. Splurge a little at parties, but eat sensibly the rest of the week. Get the skim-milk latte at your coffee shop, not the fancy holiday-spice coffee drink. Tote fruit and nuts or veggies and hummus to work for snacks, so it's easy to bypass the latest cookie mountain in the break room.

With moves like these, you'll wake up on New Year's Day wearing the same size, or even one size smaller.

Are you an emotional eater? Learn more about the science of cravings.

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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