3 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Pushy relatives, a busy schedule and cookies galore can threaten to derail your fat-loss plans over the holidays. Here's how to stay in control.

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From bake sales to holiday parties, and spiked eggnog to turkey with all the trimmings, this most wonderful time of year can be a potential diet and exercise minefield. Prevent your hard work from going to waste and still enjoy all the best this season has to offer with these holiday-hazard solutions.

Fat-Loss Faux Pas #1

You know that your great aunt Nora would pitch a fit if you didn’t accept a piece of her homemade cheesecake, so instead of arguing, you let her serve you a gigantic piece.

Family-Friendly Solution: Sometimes even well-meaning relatives don’t see how uncomfortable they make you feel by relentlessly pushing foods that don’t fit within your lifestyle. A simple “I’m full” should usually suffice, but if you decline twice and are still subject to an earful, it may just be best to take the lecture. Wolfing down hundreds of extra calories won’t benefit you or your aunt, and taking the piece but picking at it may be considered even ruder than turning it down in the first place.

Fat-Loss Faux Pas #2

While visiting your parents, you have scoped out a local gym and penciled in several workouts. On your way out the door, your mother guilt trips you about not “spending time with the family.” You reluctantly put your runners away.

Parental-Meltdown Solution: When you take time to better yourself through exercise, those who don’t share your zeal for fitness may interpret your choice as selfish. Calmly explain that exercise is an important part of your life, and that in one hour you will come back refreshed, renewed and ready to tackle all of the family fun that she has planned. Or prevent head-to-head battles all together by scheduling your workouts for earlier in the day when family time won’t be on the horizon. Another approach: Take this as an opportunity to introduce them to a new way of life by inviting them along for your session, or suggesting a class that you can both take. The gift of good health is the only one that truly keeps on giving!

Fat-Loss Faux Pas #3

Dozens of holiday party invitations have arrived on your doorstep. Although the thought of seeing friends and family excites you, you decline because you fear that there will be nothing for you to eat when you arrive.

Party-Hearty Solution: Don’t let fat-gain fear cause you to miss out on a good time — your waistline can be maintained while you mingle! If you feel comfortable, talk to the host of the party and explain your diet situation. Offer to bring in a few healthy appetizers, and if there is a meal involved, pack a party-sized container of a favorite, protein-packed side dish that can be substituted for your entree — a low-fat tuna and quinoa salad may fit the bill. If the host is an acquaintance and you don’t want to seem picky, try using a blanket “food sensitivity” reason to explain why you will be toting Tupperware.

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