Beat Holiday Weight Gain

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Research shows the average adult weight gain through the holiday season is slight, but it sticks with you. A pound or two annually can equal 25-30 over the course of adulthood. Nowadays, the winter holidays tend to span a couple months rather than a few weeks so there is plenty of time to enjoy your favorites-- in moderation. Enjoy pumpkin pie a time or two around Thanksgiving, but then agree to pass. Splurge on a peppermint mocha here and there when you're out holiday shopping, but then swear them off until next season.

Here are a few other tips to beat winter weight gain_

Beware of beverages

Specialty coffees:

o There is a reason holiday lattes and mochas taste so good! Depending on size and extras (syrups, whipped cream, etc.) they can easily be in over 400 calories. o If you can't resist, choose a smaller size, ask for less syrup than the recipe calls for, choose lowfat milk, and hold the whipped cream.


o Made with milk, cream, beaten eggs, and sugar, this holiday treat contains 340 calories per 8 ounces. Often paired with alcohol, eggnog is one holiday treat that can blow your calorie budget. As a general rule, beware of any beverage that feels more like a milkshake going down.


o With more family and friends around, holiday parties to attend, and increased stress levels, many Americans tend to increase their alcohol intake around the holidays. If you choose to include it, remember the rules of moderation.

o Moderate alcohol intake is considered one drink per day for women or two per day for men.

One drink is equal to:

1.5 oz liquor 12 oz beer 5 oz wine

o These contain anywhere from 75-150 calories alone, not including mixers or foods you may pair them with.

Start your exercise resolution early

o Nothing will feel better than escaping the holidays without weight gain. Set goals for number of days per week and total time spent exercising. Most gyms have incentives on initiation rates and monthly fees. It's all about planning- try new classes and use the buddy system. Think of it as a gift to yourself! o Be realistic- there will be days you can't workout so don't beat yourself up over it, just pick up where you left off as soon as you can.

Go to holiday parties with a plan

o Eat normally throughout the day and avoid arriving extremely hungry. o Choose carefully between drinks, appetizers, second helpings, and desserts. For example, choose between appetizers OR desserts, but not both. Use the small plates to your advantage in helping control portion sizes. o Do all the talking. You'll have less time to eat.

Be careful while shopping

o Go between meals, or pack snacks to avoid eating poorly on the run.

Give away your baked goods

o Sure the holidays are a great time to bake, but give baked goods away and share any you receive. To avoid excess "taste tests," avoid baking when you're hungry.

Monitor stress eating

o Keep cravings out of the house. o Use a journal to help keep your stress level in check. Give leftovers a short shelf life

o They're great for a couple days, but we tend to overeat when they're around. Keep them around for a day or two and then be done. If you think you'll end up with too much, give some away to your guests. Buy extra storage containers and zipper bags in advance to encourage you to share.

Traveling tips

o Remember previous posts regarding what to eat in an airport and what to eat on the road when you embark on holiday travels. Whatever you do, leave the baked goods in the trunk.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto