8 tips for preventing holiday weight gain

Photo: istockphoto.com/Olivier Blondeau
It's hard to resist all those goodies being passed around the office. Add the the food and festive drinks at family dinners and parties and you can really pack on the pounds. Here are some tips to avoid holiday weight gain. 1. Have two servings of your favourite treats per day like two ounces of chocolate or two large cookies. It's okay to say no but you don't need to deprive yourself. 2. Don't skip breakfast. This will only make you hungrier and it will be harder not to indulge in goodies close at hand. Be sure to have something with protein at breakfast. Sugary food and lots of carbohydrates will make your blood sugar skyrocket and actually make you feel hungrier without giving you the sustained energy you need. 3. Avoid the temptation of fast food just because you are busy. Take the time to prepare simple meals at home that will keep you refueled and offset high-calories blow outs along the way. When eating out at the shopping mall choose low-fat options like salads and soups. 4. Don't go to parties hungry -- particularly late-night parties. Have a protein-rich meal before heading out to party and that plate of appetizers won't seem so tempting. Take one small plate of snacks and then move away from the food tables. Watch how much you drink since alcohol is full of extra calories. 5. Skip the dessert at restaurant dinners and go for the light meals. For buffets, check all the food first and then take small portions of each item. Load up on vegetables and fruits. Skip buffet desserts as well. 6. Do some exercise each day. Even a 15 minute walk after meals can help keep the pounds off. Exercise will also help relieve holiday stress. 7. Slow down and savour your food. By keeping your portions smaller and eating slowly, you can leave the table with a comfortable feeling of satisfaction rather feeling like you are going to explode. If you can wait for 10 minutes after you've finished eating, your brain will signal your stomach that it's full and you won't want seconds. 8. Watch out for stress eating. The excitement of holidays and spending time with family can increase stress levels. Build up in some ways to relax that don't involve food. Anne Colvey is a freelance writer who is avoiding fruit cake over the holidays.