End of year celebrations can be wonderful but with them come the challenges of avoiding the 5–7-pound weight gain many women experience when they step on the scale in the new year.

If you want to have fun and feel relaxed in all social gatherings over the holidays, you need to develop some simple strategies that can let you have fun without the dreaded weight gain.

Stepping Out

Starving yourself before going out, in anticipation of eating later, can sabotage any form of self-control. None of us does very well when we’re very hungry. Eat a light meal or snack before you go to an event, so you have more self-control.

Exercise good thinking and make a plan before you arrive at a party – decide which foods you will eat and which you’ll pass by, and stick with the plan.

If you tend to be anxious when going into a social situation, do a quick relaxation exercise or meditation to relax.

Stand away from buffet tables and seek out people you enjoy and spend time with them. When you do eat something at a buffet, scan the whole table before you take anything.

It’s a good idea to limit all alcohol – it makes you snack more, not less. Have a glass of red wine and switch to sparkling water.

A Sample Dinner Party Menu

You’ll please nearly everyone if you serve them a nutritious meal. They may not have had one for a while and will welcome the way it makes them feel to have some good food.

Here’s a suggestion you can utilize:

 Crudités and bean dip or hummus; raw nuts and pesto stuffed mushrooms for appetizers

 Vegetable soup

 Roasted sweet potatoes

 Steamed green beans 

 Boneless chicken with marsala vinegar and mushrooms

Dessert (keep the options to one) – baked thin sliced pears with cinnamon and raisins 

Cocktail Party

If you host a cocktail party, have many non-alcoholic beverages like hot apple cider, non-alcoholic eggnog, sparkling water, non-alcoholic cranberry punch with sparkling water along with red wine and prosecco.

For appetizers to go with the beverages, try some of these:

  • hard cheese
  • grapes
  • rice crackers
  • stuffed grape leaves
  • spinach toasts
  • mushroom walnut pate
  • guacamole with carrots and celery
  • sliced peppers, carrots, and celery with a yogurt dip.

All that said, I am a proponent of relaxing a bit over the holidays and indulging in a few traditional treats that are special in your circle of friends and family. Be selective and know that it’s only a temporary detour from your normal healthy way of eating.

I choose a favorite dessert at special dinners and have a small portion of it. I eat very consciously so I can savor every bite. It’s not that one yummy treat that causes weight gain – it’s a steady pattern of overeating sweets that leads to weight gain at the end of the year.

Post-Holiday Cleanse

You don’t want to go on a crash diet in January. That is non-productive and will make you feel quite deprived. Try a cleanse instead.

There are three times each year that I promote and lead a nutritional cleanse: spring, autumn and right after the holidays. It gives you a weeklong refocus on simple whole foods. It will stabilize your blood sugar and rid you of cravings that come from the sugar over the holidays.

What’s your holiday meal plan? Do you find sweet temptations everywhere you go over the holidays? If so, what techniques work for you to keep you from overdoing it? Please comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

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