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8 Easy Ways to Party Without the Weight Gain

There are so many wonderful things about the holidays: the lights, the decorations, the traditions, and, of course, the parties. And the food, which is not only present in abundance, but loaded with sugar and fat. This is a recipe for weight gain, so our family practice doctors at Cohen Medical Associates in Delray Beach want to offer a little advice on how to avoid packing on the pounds.

We all know how difficult it is to lose weight, so the best thing is not to gain it in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, and even indulge a bit over the holidays. These eight tips will help you keep weight gain to a minimum.


1. Ditch the diet

Parties are not the time to feel deprived, which will only make you want more. Unless there’s a medical reason (celiac disease, diabetes, and the like) why you can’t eat certain things, do not head out to holiday gatherings with a list in your head of “forbidden foods.” Your more manageable goal should be to either maintain your current weight or to gain as little as possible.


2. Maintain meals

Eat your normal meals throughout the day, with plenty of emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and high-quality protein. Heading out to a party on an empty stomach is just setting yourself up to binge on everything you see.


3. Stick to favorites

Every party host will strive to provide a wide array of foods for the guests, presented to appear as appealing as possible. But why waste calories on foods you don’t like all that much, when you could be spending them on things you love? When you arrive at the party, survey the offerings and focus on:

  • things you can’t get any other time of year;
  • dishes you don’t cook as well as your host; or,
  • favorites that spark joy.

In fact, before you head out to any party, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a list of holiday foods you look forward to finding there, and stick to it as closely as possible.


4. Pad with protein

Promise yourself that, before you touch a single cookie, you’ll have some protein first. This helps steady your blood sugar ahead of the onslaught of sweets, and will also take the edge off your appetite. Reach first for the meat and cheese platter, savory meatballs, shrimp cocktail, or the nut dish before you take even a bite of pumpkin pie.


5. Stick with plates

It’s so easy to go overboard when you’re standing there talking and the servers keep offering you platters of hors d’oeuvres. Pay attention to what you put into your mouth, opting for your favorite holiday foods, not everyday fares like pretzels and potato chips. After you’ve scoped out the offerings, put the foods you really want on a plate and, if possible, sit down to eat it.


6. Cut where you can

You can still find sneaky ways to eat what you love and save a calorie here and there. If you can’t resist the bacon and avocado dip, have it with vegetables instead of chips. If you wait all year for your aunt’s olive and pecan ball, spread it on whole wheat crackers, if they’re available.


7. Go easy on the booze

Not only does alcohol contain calories, but it will also lower your inhibitions and your will power. And besides, you can drink any time of year, and you want to stick to those things you can get only during the holidays, right?

This doesn’t mean you can’t imbibe at all, just go easy. A light beer, wine, or wine spritzer will have fewer calories than creamy liqueurs or eggnog. Also, remember that tonic water also contains calories; opt for club soda as your mixer.


8. Walk it off

While you won’t be able to burn off every extra calorie through exercise, even a leisurely stroll after you’ve indulged with help, and help you feel a little more virtuous.

The mid-winter holidays are not only a festive time of year, but they’re also a chance to spread kindness and joy. Save a little of that kindness for yourself, by giving yourself (reasonable) free rein to enjoy them, and not beating yourself up if you gain a pound or two. Remember that good health is about balance: between the occasional overindulgence and making smarter choices the rest of the time.

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