8 Tips For Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain, Mark P. Schumacher, MD

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the average person gains nearly a pound. That might not sound like much weight, but people rarely lose the pound after the holidays. Instead, they continue accumulating more weight year after year.

Dr. Schumacher wants to make sure that everyone knows how to stay healthy through the holiday season. You can start by following these eight tips for avoiding holiday weight gain.

1. Avoid Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks contain a lot of calories. A glass of red wine has about 125 calories. A gin and tonic adds about 136 calories to your daily total. Most beers have between 100 and 200 calories.

Even if you follow the CDC’s guidelines for moderate drinking, you can add 100-400 calories per day to your diet. It doesn’t take long before those drinks add up to the 3,500 calories that it takes to gain one pound of fat.

2. Eat Before You Go to Parties

Don’t go to parties on an empty stomach. If you do, you’ll feel more tempted to indulge in high-calorie holiday favorites like pecan pie, eggnog, and dips. Before you go to parties, eat a satisfying meal so you don’t feel like you need to eat while socializing.

3. Use Small Plates

Using smaller plates makes food look bigger and more satisfying. If you choose to eat at a holiday gathering, use the smallest plate you can find. It will trick you into thinking that you’ve eaten more food.

4. Choose Fruits and Vegetables

Instead of grabbing cookies and chips, stick to fruits and vegetables. Resist the temptation to dip your vegetables into ranch dressing. Every tablespoon of ranch dressing contains about 65 calories.

5. Freeze Leftovers Instead of Storing Them in the Fridge

If you host a party during the holidays, you’ll probably have plenty of leftovers to eat. Instead of storing your leftovers in the refrigerator, put them in your freezer.

Refrigerated leftovers make it easy for you to grab snacks throughout the day. Those snacks quickly add up to a full meal of calories. By freezing the leftovers, you’re forced to plan when you will eat them. Even the few minutes that it takes to microwave frozen leftovers gives you a chance to think twice about your decision.

6. Stick to a Sleep Schedule

Between parties, shopping, and other holiday activities, you may find yourself tempted to skimp on sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may ruin your holiday eating plans. Studies show that people with sleep deprivation tend to eat more calories than rested people.

Sleep deprivation can also lower your metabolism, which makes it harder to keep off unwanted pounds.

7. Bring a Healthy Dish to Parties

You don’t have any control over what people serve at their parties. You can gain some control,  however, by bringing a healthy dish for everyone to enjoy.

Some healthy options to consider include:

8. Follow an Exercise Schedule

It’s easy to let your exercise goals slide during the holidays. However, staying committed to your exercise schedule will help you avoid unwanted pounds. Even if you indulge in some holiday treats, you will have an opportunity to burn off the extra calories.

Since it gets pretty cold in Reno during the holidays, you should consider joining a gym or meeting with a personal trainer. The more active you are, the less weight you will gain.


If you have any concerns about staying healthy this holiday season, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Schumacher. Our office is open from 9am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday. You can make an appointment by calling 775-234-2301 or sending a message through our website.

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