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Each fall and winter holiday season brings with it the usual flood of recipes, specialty food products, and parties overflowing with food and drink. Along with all that food comes holiday weight gain, or at least the threat of it. Holiday weight gain has become so common that many people expect that it will happen — but it doesn’t have to! You can enjoy holiday food and fun without having to worry about your waistline. It does take conscious action, but it is totally possible. And if you end up gaining some weight anyway, there are ways to combat that, too.

Why Does This Even Happen?

Holiday food is tempting. It’s a time for pies, cakes, fatty foods, overflowing plates, and boxes upon boxes of cookies and chocolate. Avoiding holiday foods all together can be tough and if you are trying to control your weight, this time of year can be exceptionally challenging.  Even those who have tremendous self-control can find holiday food to be a real distraction.

Why Is It So Distressing?

The weight you gain over the holidays is unwelcome for two reasons. First, is that the weight gain appears to happen quite rapidly. All of a sudden those pants are a little too tight and that shock isn’t something anyone likes. The other reason is that it’s generally harder to lose weight than it is to gain it. In order to stave off those holiday pounds, you have to motivate yourself to balance food intake, food selection,  hydration, and exercise.

How Do You Stop It?

To avoid holiday weight gain, you have to be conscious of what you’re eating and how what you eat fits into your normal routine. One thing you can do is remember what it feels like to overeat, or to suddenly find your clothes fitting too tight; that thought alone may prevent you from eating extra holiday snacks.  And of course, try and be mindful of the food you do choose to eat.  For example, choosing the fruit salad rather than the sugar cookie, will reduce the calories you consume, and help you keep the holiday weight off.

Another strategy is to plan ahead. Going to a party hungry means it will be that much harder to make good food choices. Try eating a healthy snack before going to a dinner party or social event.  Lastly, avoidance is another great option. Don’t store holiday cookies and chocolate in your pantry, keeping them out of sight will keep them out of mind.

Programs like those at 360MWS can offer support and counseling to help you combat holiday temptations. The doctors and clinicians can help you devise a plan for navigating your holiday season. If you do end up gaining some weight, regardless of your efforts, they can help you take it off and continue to keep it off.

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