5 Ways to Fight the Fear of Holiday Weight Gain


The holidays are supposed to be full of fun, togetherness, and celebration. But for many people, myself included, they’re also full of anxiety. That’s because all that fun, togetherness and celebration often lead to overindulgence and the guilt and self-loathing that come along with it. As a kid I couldn’t wait for the holidays. As an adult I still looked forward to them, but I began to dread them a little bit, too–all because of the fear of gaining a few extra pounds. I don’t know about you, but self-deprivation doesn’t exactly put me in the holiday mood! And so, I decided to figure out a way to ditch my dread without giving up any fun. Follow these five tips and see if with a healthy helping of moderation and a dash of modification, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Switch it up. If you want to make a traditional holiday feast, then do it! Just trade one or two ingredients for their healthier cousin and you’ll save on calories without missing any of the flavor. I always bake loaves of banana bread to give as gifts and also to enjoy Christmas morning. I still plan to, but this year I’m swapping the butter and sugar for non-fat yogurt and applesauce for an equally moist and delicious (but better for you!) treat. For more healthy swaps check out “Healthy recipes: A guide to ingredient substitutions” mayoclinic.com.

  • Get moving. Who says every gathering has to be around a table? There’s no reason that good conversation and memories have to include fattening foods and alcohol. So, instead of meeting the girls for happy hour, why not meet early one morning for a holiday hike instead? You’ll boost your spirits and your metabolism. 
  • Don’t go hungry. If you’re a guest at someone else’s holiday party, you don’t have control over what they serve. If you’re starving when you arrive you’re more likely to end up eating more than you’d like. Best way to avoid that is to eat a healthy meal an hour or two before the party. You’ll be able to sample everything without going over board, and you won’t feel deprived. 
  • Minimize the Temptations. I mean literally. Instead of making a pecan pie for example, make miniature single serving pies in mini muffin tins. A little bite of heaven is all you need and, you won’t be one of those women who refuse to eat dessert, or ask for the tiniest slice. I found some great recipes online on sites like tastespotting.com and delish.com.
  • Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. If you do slip up a little, instead of a guilt trip, why not give yourself the gift of forgiveness. Very few people are perfect all the time, and nobody likes them much anyway! So if you overindulge at one meal, just eat extra healthy at the next. Or better yet, start a new family tradition of exercising together for some “bonding while burning”…calories that is!