The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re trying to lose weight, they can also be the most dangerous! Between December 24th and January 2nd, there are 9 high-risk weight-gain days…9 days of partying, delicious food, and adult beverages. And if you think, “Eh, I can’t gain all that much weight in just nine days!” – oh, yes, you can! I’ve had clients who have gained 4 kilo++ or pounds++ between Christmas and New Year’s! So what do we do?

How do we survive the holidays without undoing all of the progress we’ve made towards our goals?

Mistake #1: Not eating all day
So many people use the “hunger savings account” strategy on the day of the party – they “save up” for a big party by not eating earlier in the day.

Solution #1: Eat healthy and normally
Don’t skip meals! Eat your normal breakfast, a sensible lunch, and maybe a pre-party snack so that you’re not ravenous when you arrive. And this goes for the weeks leading up to the holidays – stick to your normal routine. Eat clean. Drink your water. If you work out, keep up with your workouts.

Mistake #2: So. Much. Food.
Whether it’s a plated meal or a buffet, most big events and parties lavish spreads of endless supplies of food. Appetizers, soups, salads, breads, entrees, desserts, after-dinner drinks…no human can possibly eat that much food! And yet we try.

Solution #2: Stick to the Basics
Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. You know what you need to eat – protein, carbs, and veggies – so start with those. A nice chicken breast or steak, mashed potatoes or rice, and some vegetables. Not only will you feel overfull, you’ll be satisfied, you’ll be fueling your body with the right type of food, and you’ll avoid all the guilt.

Mistake #3: Lingering Near the Buffet
Or the bar. Or the dessert table. The easier the access you have to something, the more likely you are to give into it…or that someone will offer you something from it. “Oh, hey, looks like you need another drink! Let me get that for you!” “Oh, my goodness, these bacon-wrapped figs are out of this world! Here, try one!

Solution #3: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Stand away from that which is your weakness. If you have to make an effort to get to the bar because it’s on the other side of the room chances are you’ll think twice about that second drink. And if your host encourages you to try something you don’t want, just graciously say, “No, thank you.” You don’t have to explain. No is a complete sentence. Don’t let being polite push you into eating or drinking something you don’t want.

Mistake #4: Winging It
Science has shown that the more choices we have, the harder it is to make a decision. If you tell yourself that you’ll figure out what you’ll eat once you see what food is available, that decision might be to eat it all! Going to a party or an event without a plan is a surefire way to let temptation sneak in.

Solution #4: Go In With a Plan
I’m not saying you have to call the host ahead of time and get a full menu (though that’s not a terrible idea!), but you know that you’re going to need some protein, some carbs, and some vegetables. Decide if you’re going to have a glass of wine, a slice of cake or if you’re going to pass on the bread basket. Make these decisions before you’re faced with them, and your night will go much more smoothly.

Mistake #5: Leggings and tunics are out
While stretchy clothing might be comfortable, it can also get you into trouble – the more you eat, the more it expands!

Solution #5: Skinny jeans are in
Your willpower is under a lot of pressure this time of year, so give it some help. If you’re going out for a good meal or to an event where you know there will be the opportunity to overeat, wear something that is form-fitting – a tight dress, a belt, or some shapewear. When we wear something form-fitting, we’re more conscious of how we look, and the physical restriction will signal when you’re full so you can stop eating.

Another suggestion is to wear something that reminds you of the promise you’re trying to keep to yourself. Maybe it’s a bracelet, a special shawl – something that can give you a visual trigger and help you make a good decision.

With a little planning and awareness, you can get through the holidays and not become a victim of the nine days of weight gain between December 24 and January 2. And remember – in the end, we attend parties, weddings, and events to connect and celebrate with other people. So instead of focusing on the food, focus on the company – ask questions, share stories, and get to know the people around you, and don’t forget to dance. Have a great time because of the conversation, not because of the alcohol or overeating.

Leave a comment and let me know which Solution you’re you’re to try at your next event!

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