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woman eating holiday cookiesEvery holiday you make the same promise to yourself:

“This year, I won’t put on holiday weight.”

And despite the endless lists of tips for shedding holiday pounds, there isn’t much advice to help keep us from putting those pounds on in the first place. But that’s the very best approach to maintaining a healthy weight over the holidays: plan ahead and stay disciplined.

Use these four tips to keep yourself from losing control and gaining that holiday weight we’re all looking to avoid.

Portion Your Holiday Meals

Because we so often celebrate holidays with friends and family, servings of food end up in large bowls or platters that make it easy to take portions as you please. To help control the amount of food you actually consume, consider keeping your food portioned on a plate.

It’s easier to keep track of how much food you eat when you can relate it to a number of filled plates. The effort it takes to arrange food on the plate also keeps you from overdoing your eating – it’s just far too easy and convenient to grab food from a platter or bowl than it is to think about serving yourself smart portions.

Eat Only Your Favorites

Sure, it’s a lot of fun to try new and interesting foods. But if you truly want to keep the weight off during the holidays, you can help yourself by limiting your consumption to your favorite items. It’s a bit of a compromise – while your favorite holiday foods most likely aren’t very healthy options, you’ll at least keep yourself from over-consuming while still enjoying the smells and flavors that trigger your nostalgia.

Pre-Schedule an Exercise Session for Every Holiday Meal

Staying disciplined is largely about planning. If you don’t have workouts set up over the holidays, you’ll find that your motivation to exercise will plummet. But if you put workout sessions on your schedule, your list of excuses will grow short instead.

You don’t have to schedule them back-to-back. Just make sure that for each family dinner and gathering that involves lots of tasty food, you have a corresponding workout on the calendar. Your brain will be prepared for the workout, and you may even be surprised by how positive your holiday food decision-making becomes when you know you have a serious workout coming up.

Get the Sleep Your Body Demands

Yes, it’s true; sleep will actually help you maintain your weight over the course of the holidays. Your brain will be better able to control your hunger when you’re well-rested, and you’ll spend less time consuming sugary holiday drinks and caffeinated beverages. Plus, your overall decision-making capacity will help you stay on track with your other weight loss efforts.

Diet Doc’s medical weight loss programs can also help keep you on track during the holidays. Explore how our doctor-supervised weight loss methods help you reach your weight loss goals any time of the year!

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