5 Rules to Follow to Keep the Holiday Weight Off

11/08/2012

Are you looking for a sure-fire way keep holiday weight gain at bay?  There are rules you must follow.  Oh, I know, we hate rules but the reality is that we live within the confines of rules all the time - we just don’t think about it.  For example, we follow the speed limit (especially around speed cameras), stand in line at the grocery store, or raise our hand to speak at a meeting.  When it comes to keeping the weight off this holiday season follow these 5 rules.  The beauty of rules is that after awhile, it becomes a way of life. 

Rule #1: Don’t stop exercising.  This one seems pretty obvious but this is the one area that takes a Thinkstock
nosedive during the holidays.  I know you want Auntie Rose to be comfortable but driving all over town to find the perfect something can dip into your workout time.  Delegate tasks, simplify your life and whatever you do, don’t take your workouts off the calendar!

Rule #2: Turn the lights off 8 p.m. Okay, let’s keep this G-rated and just say that cooking into the wee hours of the night is a no-no.  If you must cook in the evenings keep it short and to the point; cut up some fresh vegetables for a snack tray.  Whatever you do, avoid the foods that can get your attention in the evening such as cookies, candies, or anything with lots of refined sugars. 

Rule #3: Reduce your plate size.  This is an area where everyone benefits.  If you get smaller plates such as a 7-inch one, folks will eat less including you.  Studies prove that if we fill-up on foods from a smaller plate our brain can’t tell the difference.  We still feel like we’re eating a lot of food.  Here’s the extra rule within this rule – don’t double dip.  Be sure to eat one serving.  If you load up two smaller plates you’ve defeated the purpose of reducing your portions. 

Rule #4: Manage your stress better than last year.  As much as we’d like to think that we’re not under stress, the holiday season can be a stressful time.  The hustle and bustle of planning, traffic jams, and irritated shoppers are bound to set something off inside of you.  This little something is called stress and it builds slowly.  You can call it a cortisol party except this is one party that you don’t want your body to be a part of.  Excessive amounts of cortisol can hurt you, pile on the pounds, and impact your overall health. 

Rule #5: Set limits for yourself early.  We set limits for our kids all the time.  We tell them in order to do x you have to do y first.  We tell them to eat their vegetables before they can have dessert.  Why not set the same limits for yourself this holiday season?  Tell yourself that in order to enjoy a favorite treat you must eat at least three to four servings of vegetables.  The beauty of this rule is that once you fill up on vegetables, you’ll eat less dessert.  Here’s the rule within the rule: if you want to enjoy a dessert, make sure it’s the best ever.  Indulge in a once a year delicacy that only shows up on special occasions.  When you treat yourself to the real thing instead of artificial sugars and additives, you’re more satisfied and you’ll avoiding bingeing on fake stuff.  These rules are simple, doable and habit forming.  Try them and get a jump-start on your healthier habits, before the New Year.

After the holidays come back and share.  What rule was the easiest to follow?  What rule was the hardest to follow?  Share your stories – you are in a no penalty zone!

Want to eat better everyday leading up to the holidays?  Check out my recent post.

For More on Health During the Holidays:

Tasty Holiday Foods that Contain Vitamins

Healthy Holiday Appetizers

Alternative Holiday Foods


As a 4-time mom, I understand the many demands and challenges that come with raising a family and trying to get or stay fit. I've developed programs for pre-conception, pregnancy and post-pregnancy as well as preparing for and recovering from challenges like medical procedures.
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