5 Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It’s official: The holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is on the way, and I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m getting HUNGRY! I can already smell the cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, and sweet yams. I know this is a busy time for everyone, but the WORST thing you can say is, “I’m waiting for the new year.” Here are a few tips to help you PREVENT gaining five pounds this holiday season.

1. Start your January health push NOW

“THE PERFECT TIME TO START SOMETHING NEVER ARRIVES.” -Dave Ramsey

START NOW! Most of my friends who have made great progress on their fitness journey did not start it after the new year. In fact, the majority of them didn’t plan it at all. They just woke up and took a walk. So, what you SHOULD do is wake up tomorrow morning and do something healthy. Make a good breakfast, take a walk, see a personal trainer, or simply go to the gym.

2. Eat BEFORE the parties

Have you ever heard the phrase “never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach?” The same applies to holiday parties. If you eat a healthy meal before heading to a party, then you are less likely to eat unhealthy foods at the party.

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3. Log your calories BEFORE you eat them

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this, but it can never be said enough. DO IT. This will force you to see exactly what you are about to eat. If it’s enough to eat, then log it. Take responsibility for your actions by looking at what you are about to do.

4. Eat vegetables and meat FIRST

Limit your desires for junk food by eating healthy food first. Eat two servings of vegetables and your meat, then wait five minutes before finishing off the rest of your plate. Fill your stomach with the good stuff, and if you absolutely CANNOT resist the cornbread dressing (like myself), then have a bite or two when you’re too full to abuse it.

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5. Earn your feast by exercising before you go the parties

I know what you’re thinking, “as long as I work out, I can eat whatever I want!” This is NOT what I’m implying. If you exercise before you’re tempted, you will not only burn calories before you eat, but you’ll also be less tempted because the sweat and work will be fresh in your memory.

Most importantly…

Accept that every party is NOT a reason to treat yourself

Hear me out. It starts like this: “Well, it’s the holiday season, and we ARE celebrating…” and then we go to town on some desserts. The problem is that we all know that this is one of our most socially ACTIVE times of year. When we’re celebrating three or fours nights each week and being social, we should NOT be treating ourselves at every party!

The most important thing to remember: We do not turn off fitness and health in our lives for two months. It’s a lifestyle. If you want to get in the gym but think January is a better time, then I’m willing to bet that it’s not the TIMING that’s wrong, it’s the ATTITUDE.

Get ahead by staying healthy this holiday season!

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Luke Andrus is a certified personal trainer, ACE health coach, writer, folk music drummer, husband, and a father. Most of his writing experience is in poetry and fictional short stories, and he also proposed to his wife with a self-published children's book. He is a Narnia nerd with a degree in History, a minor in English, and a semi-obsession with the French language. He believes that fitness is not just about vanity, but about lifestyle, integrity, and the ability to take control of your life.