You’ll notice this post is called “maintaining” and not “losing” weight over the holidays. Why? Because I don’t recommend being on a diet this time of year. In fact, I hate the word diet.

Weight loss is not a bad goal. A small weight loss can help reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and improve joint pain.

Sustainable weight loss takes repeated, lifelong habits, like avoiding or limiting alcohol, reducing sugar and not snacking at night. Most of the habits that are really tricky to navigate right now.

Holidays are stressful. We’re all running around finding that perfect gift, baking our favorite holiday treats and writing holiday cards. Why add calorie counting to that stress?

We’re also attending parties, meeting friends and family for brunch, coffee, lunch, happy hour and dinner. It’s not the time to declare you’re on a diet.

Instead of stressing yourself out more, why not aim for maintenance this season? Below are some tips:

  1. Get enough sleep. It’s easy to stay up late to do “one more thing”. Instead, go to bed and get 7 to 8 hours sleep. You’ll feel less stressed and reduce cravings for sugar in the morning.
  2. Hydrate. Put a drinking glass next to your coffee maker or teacup and start the day with water. Aim for 16 oz. before every meal. First water, then caffeine. Do this daily.
  3. Join a friend outside for a walk. Skip the crowded restaurants and bars and meet in a park or favorite walking spot. Meet different friends a few days a week to stay motivated and connected.
  4. Eat at regular intervals. No need to starve before the party. Grab and apple and peanut butter or hummus and veggies before you go. Space meals out every 3 to 4 hours. Your body needs nutrients!
  5. Second guess that Hershey kiss. Be a dessert snob this time of year. You can have Hershey’s chocolate or peanut M & Ms any time. Enjoy a few holiday favorites instead.
  6. Journal something positive.  Note one thing each day that made you happy. Maybe it was your neighbor’s holiday display or a sweet card from a long last friend. Try to stay positive to reduce stress.
  7. Enjoy soup! Load a bowl with bean or veggie-based soup. Soup is a perfectly filling meal when it’s cold outside. Search my site for recipes!
  8. Get creative with salads. Add seasonal fruit like pears or apples to spinach, arugula or other greens. Drizzle a simple vinaigrette made with oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard.
  9. Use some free weights while you watch TV. If you don’t have a gym or there’s no time to get to one, do some simple exercise at home. I like to lift a 7-pound medicine ball while I enjoy Seinfeld reruns. Why not?
  10. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. If you’re a stress eater, divert your attention to something else. Read a book, send a card, knit a scarf, clean your bathroom. Each time you deal with stress in a positive way, you’ll reinforce NOT eating when you’re not hungry.

Enjoy this joyous time of year!

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