10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1. Never Arrive Hungry

When attending a holiday party, the best advice is to eat a healthy meal before you go to avoid over-eating.  If you are attending a sit-down dinner, eat a healthy snack high in protein and low in carbohydrates 30 minutes before and make sure you control your portion sizes when serving your plate.

2. Avoid Banking Calories

Don’t be a calorie hoarder!  Saving all of your calories for the end of the day is the quickest way to overeat.  Plan all of your meals ahead of time and treat the day just like any normal day.  Eat balanced meals full of nutrients, high in protein, and don’t be afraid of healthy fats.

3. Reduce Calories in Recipes

If you are doing any of the cooking this year, take this opportunity to make a few healthy substitutions.  Here a few ideas on how to reduce calories without your friends and family even knowing:  

  • Replace butter with applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree
  • Replace mayo and sour cream with plain Greek yogurt
  • Instead of whole milk or heavy cream use almond or coconut cream
  • Use vanilla or almond extract to flavor sweets instead of sugar
  • Add dried fruit instead of chocolate chips

4. Use a Smaller Plate

We all know that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs ESPECIALLY around the holidays when we’re surrounded by so many tempting things.  Using a smaller plate will help you control portions giving you time to feel full and reconsider having seconds.

5. Center Meals Around Protein

It is proven that protein provides the most satiety (feeling full and satisfied) of any of the macronutrients.  While so many  dishes at holiday parties are carbohydrate-based, like sweet potatoes, mac-n-cheese, and stuffing, don’t forget to load up on the protein.  We suggest serving about 2 palm sizes of protein, filling the rest of your plate with veggies, and only having small servings of carbohydrate-dense dishes.

6. Limit Liquid Calories

Have you ever heard of empty calories?  Empty calories are calories that provide no nutritional value and many times are very high in sugar.  If you are going to enjoy a cocktail this holiday season, make sure to choose the lowest calorie option to avoid wasting calories on empty calories from alcohol and sugary mixers.  Replace mixers with water or carbonated water and flavor with lemon, lime, or other fruits.

7. Control Stress Levels

As much as some of you probably love the holidays, for most of us it normally causes a good bit of stress.  Stress can be physical, mental, or emotional.  Physical could mean that you work out every day or that you over-use white flour or caffeine.  But did you know that all of that stress can affect your weight loss?  When under stress your adrenal glands naturally over-produce the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol eats muscle, and muscle is what we use to burn fat.  If you are over-producing cortisol, you are literally producing a hormone that is putting you into a plateau no matter how clean your diet is.  Try to de-stress as much as possible this holiday season and don’t forget to make some time for yourself!

8. Get Plenty of Sleep

Just like stress, it is extremely important to give your body the rest it needs.  Ideally, we would like to see you get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  There are so many reasons to get adequate rest, but the most important reasons being that poor sleep changes your fat cells and lack of sleep makes you crave food.  When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess” and insulin sensitivity can drop by more than 30% which results in story fat in all the wrong places, such as your liver.  Also similar to stress, when you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise.

9. Avoid Morning-After Food

Of course we are ALL about treating yourself for special occasions, but that treat needs to end when the occasion ends!  Leave the leftovers at the party and get back on track tomorrow morning.  One cheat meal doesn’t need to turn into a cheat day, cheat week, or cheat month.  Enjoy the holiday party and then draw the line, tomorrow is a new day to start with a clean slate!

10. Take your Supplements!

We know that the holidays are an easy excuse to fall off track, but just like you are going to be sticking to your diet, we want to make sure that you are still taking your daily supplements ESPECIALLY during this time.  All of our supplements are specifically formulated for weight loss, and almost all of them contain digestive enzymes that will help your body digest and get rid of the foods you are eating.  Eating foods rich in flavor, loaded with extra sugar, cream, and cheese that your body isn’t used to can cause a lot of digestive distress and our supplements will help to make sure you are metabolizing them properly.  Aside from digestive disorders, our Aspen Adrenal will help to regulate adrenal function controlling cortisol levels, the Fat/Sugar Enzymes will help to balance blood sugar levels and control sweet/carb cravings, and the LIPO-Plus will aid in fat metabolism and fat burning.


 Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday from all of us at the Aspen Clinic!