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Easy Tips to Avoid the Holiday Bulge


Holiday indulgence often leads to weight gain - an average of 5 lbs is gained during Christmastime. Avoid the bulge this year with these tips.

Our friends to the south are celebrating Thanksgiving today, loading their dining tables with prehistoric-sized turkeys and buttery sides galore. And in just over a month, Christmas will be here—yet another time for fun, family, and indulgence.

Unfortunately, however, holiday indulgence often leads to weight gain. News sources suggest an average of 5 lbs is gained during the four-week Christmas period, hence the 30-percent increase in gym membership enrollment come New Year’s. But of those new gym members, only 64 percent will keep the membership for longer than a month, only to repeat the cycle the following year.

It has to make you wonder if there’s a better way. And, in fact, there is. Rather than just surrendering to the shortbread, butter tarts, eggnog, cocktails, mashed potatoes, and gravy, consider these waist-saving tips.

  • Don’t slack on your physical activity. Health Canada recommends that adults participate in a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. Don’t let this slide just because the in-laws are in town. Schedule time for exercise—whether that means waking up a bit earlier to get it over with in the morning or packing your sneakers with you for a lunchtime power walk at work.
  • Fill up on nutrient-dense foods. Don’t show up at holiday soirees famished; instead, before you leave the house, load up on low-calorie, high-nutrient foods such as raw veggies; healthy fats such as raw nuts and avocado; complex carbs such as quinoa; and eggs, which tend to leave us feeling satiated.
  • Mind the little things. They say not to let the little things get to you, but when you’re constantly snacking, the little things tend to add up. Many of our favourite appetizers are loaded with fat and sodium, and our favourite baked goods are often packed with fat and sugar, so be mindful when nibbling. Indulge in only your favourite Christmas goodies, and leave the rest on the tray. Offer to bring a fresh fruit and veggie tray or some other healthy finger foods to wherever you’re going, and stick to snacking on those items.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. A good strategy is to drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink. This will keep you hydrated and reduce any hangover the following day. Further, choose wine, which has health benefits when consumed in moderation, rather than sugar-laden cocktails.

The key to surviving the holidays is to not go overboard. Be proactive, fill up on good food, and remember, a little indulgence is okay, so don’t beat yourself up!



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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD