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How to avoid holiday weight gain

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Don’t gain this holiday season.

Holidays are approaching, and Scarsdale Integrative Medicine is here for you to maintain your health and prevent weight gain! Statistics tell us that many will gain on average 10lbs during the holiday season and those golden 10lbs also tends to stay on, allowing for gain year after year. This time of year, let’s face it, we are wearing big comfy sweaters and stretch pants, we may not even notice it but most of us pack on the pounds and have a round bloated body for a few months.

Let’s talk about simple ways this does not have to be you!


The biggest reason we gain is because we are all very busy during this time of year and very STRESSED. Over packed schedules and high stress causes us to do a few things to easily gain weight. A few examples, we go shopping for hours without eating and wind up starving only to grab pizza, we are constantly surrounded by cookies and goodies and when we don’t have other options for food because we have been so busy, those cookies and goodies are easily there to chow down on. Constant parties and get togethers cause us to overdo indulgent food and alcohol. You can see where I am going with this. We get STUCK and are surrounded by food that is not our friend. If you do anything this holiday season to prevent weight gain, listen up here.

  • Prep meals once a week to prevent getting stuck without healthy options
  • Eat before you go to an event, this will curb your appetite and prevent sabotage
  • If hosting a party, plan the menu in advance and include healthy food for you to eat
  • If attending a party, offer to bring a healthy dish, an easy one is shrimp cocktail
  • Bring food with you such as a protein bar to prevent eating desserts!
  • Plan to only keep protein and vegetables for leftovers, give the rest away, have containers ready!
  • Do not skip any meals leading up to the party, you will be starving and more likely to overeat
  • Store on-the-go food like jerky or nuts in your car, purse etc. to prevent getting stuck while out


Grandma’s homemade________ or Aunt Judy’s famous cookies. They do not let us leave without eating them or we tell ourselves we must have it, or my holiday is not complete! Many of us, even if we are full, are pressured to eat foods because they are traditions and our family and friends poured their love into them. We do not want to hurt their feelings or insult anyone, we eat the food (obviously it’s delicious) but it can make us fat and sick! We also associate the holiday with certain foods and convince ourselves that we must eat them all!
Here are ways to handle pressure situations without anyone’s feeling getting hurt and still indulge without the guilt or gain!

  • TAKE TASTES! You do not need to eat the whole slice or cookie
  • You KNOW what it tastes like, challenge yourself, you may not have to eat it this year
  • Saying “No, thank you I’m full” is okay, ask to bring it home instead and then give or throw away
  • If saying no is not an option (sometimes it isn’t) take the food, move it around in a plate before quietly throwing it out. Fat gaining foods are better wasted in the garbage, then in your body.
  • Sip tea brush your teeth or chew aspartame-free gum while cooking/baking to avoid mindless tasting
  • Anticipate pressure situations by balancing with eating healthy for all the other food that day


The holiday season starts with Halloween and ends on New Years Day. That is 60 days or so. This is a lot of time that is challenging to our health and weight even on the days we don’t go to parties or events. The food, goodies, and alcohol can be constantly in front of us. Its very important to balance not only your choices for food and drink, but the rest of your lifestyle such as stress, sleep, hydration and exercise. All parts of your lifestyle will affect your ability to find balance and maintain, not gain!

  • Hydrate! Drink 8oz cup of water before you eat to fill you up
  • Prevent picking on food by holding a cup of water in your dominant hand
  • Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee during dessert, warm fluids fill you up
  • Exercise! Ask a friend to join or schedule a trainer session for accountability
  • Holiday stress may be inevitable but do your best to manage it. Increased Stress = Increased stress hormone, Cortisol = increased sugar cravings = increased weight. Meditate daily to manage!
  • Sleep! Lack of sleep causes sugar cravings because your body seeks quick sources of fuel when tired
  • Sugar is inflammatory, lowers immunity, causes fatigue. Limiting also helps prevent getting sick!


Have you ever been eating and didn’t even realize it? Yeah, me too. If food is in front of us we somehow happen to start eating it without even truly being aware. It’s a habit many of us share, however it gets us into trouble. Try practicing being present when you are around food. Chances are you won’t make all the decisions you will when you aren’t paying attention. Try these tricks to bring mindfulness around food and see how much control is actually in your hands – literally!

  • Eat slowly. The brain takes 15-20 minutes to acknowledge you are full
  • Choose a small plate if a buffet is served and do not go up for seconds
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and proteins, allow veggies and salad to take up a lot of room
  • Eat protein and veggies first, you will be full to eat large portions of carbs
  • Instead of alcohol, drink seltzer water with lime
  • When drinking alcohol, do not add juice and sodas which is extra calories and sugar


Most of us, because of our culture, traditions, religions etc. use food and alcohol to celebrate. We may focus more on the food and forget the real reason we are together. To be together. The celebrations are in place to bring us together, enjoy each other, make beautiful memories. Of course, food is still involved but it does not have to be why we are together. Try switching your focus this year, hosting or going to holiday events to be with the ones you love and engage with them, not just on the food.

  • Conversation is calorie-free. Socializing with family and friends will distract you from food
  • Play games such as cards, board games, charades to take the focus off eating and drinking
  • Join in holiday festivities such as singing holiday songs, decorating the tree, etc.
  • Create a tradition to always go on a family walk after a meal
  • Plan activities that include exercise such as ice skating, sledding, skiing, or building a snowman
  • Substitute healthier ingredients for family recipes to keep traditions alive

We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season this year and that these tips help prevent weight gain. Reread them as your go through the season to keep your body balanced. If you have any questions or need some extra help, come see me for a free consultation! Having accountability is proven for success!

Please consult with a physician before following any of our protocols or schedule a free consult with SeeBeyond Medicine.

Dayna Arena

We are offering 30 minutes for free to talk to one of SeeBeyond's Functional Medicine Practitioners to create a personalized regimen.

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