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San Francisco VA Health Care System


Ten Ways to Maintain Your Weight Over the Holidays

Portrait of happy family enjoying dinner sitting round festive table with delicious dishes, focus two grandparents serving food during holiday celebration in modern sunlit apartment

Enjoy the holiday season without the extra pounds.

By Jessica E. Greene, RD, and Tonja Moore, MS, RD, LD
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

During the holiday season, it is difficult and sometimes unrealistic to lose weight. With the holidays just around the corner, temptations of large portions, unhealthy food choices and tradition may be frequent. Maintaining weight is a more realistic goal to set when you’re spending time with family and friends this holiday season. Here are 10 healthy eating tips to help you maintain your weight.

Plan ahead

If you know you will be eating in a party setting, make smart choices beforehand. Have a snack at home, such as a piece of fruit or dry cereal. Feeling hungry can sabotage your efforts.

Just a taste

Be selective and choose foods you really want. Often just a taste will satisfy cravings. Remember to socialize away from the food to decrease nibbling.

Conversation is calorie free

Take the time to meet and enjoy people. Join the festivities and remember the holidays are a celebration of family and friends.

Drink to your health

Limit high calorie beverages such as eggnog, champagne, wine and alcoholic drinks. Try sparkling water, seltzer or diet soda instead. Alcohol stimulates the appetite and quickly adds extra calories.

Burn it up!

After a meal, take a walk. Walking burns calories and helps deal with holiday stress. Invite family or friends to walk with you.

Avoid overindulging in desserts

Allow yourself one treat at each gathering and enjoy it without guilt.

Eat slowly

Take time at meals to taste the food and enjoy the company.

Listen to your stomach

Stop eating before you feel stuffed. Wait 30 minutes before going back for seconds, and only if you are still hungry.

Position yourself away from the snack food

Avoid sitting or standing near snack foods while at gatherings, where you may be more likely to snack. Choose low-calorie snacks whenever possible such as vegetables, fruits or pretzels.

Don’t be a Grinch

Forget the “all-or-nothing” mindset. Depriving yourself of special foods or feeling guilty when you enjoy them isn’t part of a healthy eating strategy, and it’s not part of the holiday spirit. Enjoy special foods in small portions and truly taste and savor them.

Remember: One day’s overindulgence will not ruin long-term diabetes control. But, weeks of not following a healthy meal plan will make getting back in control much more difficult. You may want to schedule to see your dietitian or diabetes provider, or plan to attend a support group during this busy time to build up your “emotional batteries.”


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