Holiday Weight Management Tips

18 11 2008


Holiday Weight Management Tips Video    I can’t believe how fast these end year Holiday festivities roll upon us.  I’m here today to help gear you toward weight management during these tough times.  For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden our bodies for the rigors of war.  I know overwhelming food selections, smells and tastes are enough to drive you crazy.   It’s no wonder we weaken and over consume.  What’s a body to do?  The worse part of it all, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient and unable to process these rich foods out of our bodies.  Instead, our metabolisms get very efficient at storing food in the form of fat.  We all know excess body fat and weight on our bodies is directly related to many health diseases.  Some of the better know diseases directly related to obesity are diabetes, atherosclerosis, congenital heart failure, cancer manifestation, etc.

    I’m also aware that a great majority of you have made tremendous strides in melting the pounds away at the beginning of last year for your new year’s resolution.  Congratulation to those that accomplished your goals!  For those of you still struggling don’t give up!  I will provide some tips and recommendations that will help you get through this Holiday season to survive the ever present danger of adding weight back on, or worse, packing on more weight from last year’s failed weight loss program.  I’m no different than you with regard to all the tempting foods during the Holiday season, I’m greatly tempted to over consume during this time of year.  However, awareness of our weaknesses during the Holidays with a battle plan is the best deterrent to minimize the potential damage to our health.

    In modifying eating behavior, it is necessary to understand why some overeat.  There are many reasons one may over consume (addiction to foods, compulsive behavior and depression are a few).   Survival necessitates consuming calories to live.  Fortunately, in the land of plenty there is no problem here.  But if we continue to over consume, our bodies accept this as a normal condition of survival and demand the same daily consumption practices, because it believes this pattern to be normal for survival.  The fact is as you age your body simply does not require excess calories as our youthful developmental growth years.   Instead adults require healthy living maintenance calories.  Maintenance calories is not considered a diet as in weight loss program, but more so a healthy food intake management program.   This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirement is to maintain healthy consumption behavioral patterns.

    Since everyone’s metabolism is different with various ages, sex, health conditions and genetics, etc., I can’t provide a one fit solution for all to manage weight during the Holiday Season.  Instead I will provide tools to assist in modifying Holiday behavioral consumption patterns.  I also won’t provide you the typical nutritional tips recommended by health experts insulting your intelligence, such as grazing tips.  This is simply ridiculous… How many of you could go to the King and Queens ball with so many scrumptious food delights and not over consume?  Come On!  Give me a break!  I’m not saying we’re all undisciplined.  I am saying there aren’t very many of us that can control our food selection and consumption habits at these types of social events.  For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power that most of us can only dream about.  For the majority of you that fall into the weak willed consumption patterns like me, I have some tips that don’t involve calorie counting or grazing tips and may help you to turn down some of those extra calories during the Holiday season.

    Let me forewarn you the tips that I provide may not work for everyone, but they seem to work for me.  Also, if you suffer from a serious health disease, my approach may not be in your best health interest.  As I stated earlier at the beginning of this article, there are many health variations and considerations with regard to age, sex, medical conditions, etc., but you may be able to modify your present consumption behavioral habits, or nutritional requirements during the Holidays to be of greater benefit without increasing health risk!  Now, let’s get to the meat of what you’ve been waiting for, here’s what I do to battle increased weight gain at seasonal events.

Tip#1 – Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!  This habitual habit regardless of social event seems to be ingrained within the American culture.  I know my family, like so many others during the Holidays repeat this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves, before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.   So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for the Holiday meal.  The way our digestion system processes food your stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours after each meal depending on metabolism.  This figure varies with different people.  The point is when you get to the meal table, you won’t worry about “grazing selection,” instead, you just won’t eat as much, and you’ll fill up faster.
Tip#2 – Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal battle.  You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and inhibitor.  This for me is the effect alcohol plays on my body at the dinner table and many others.  The cause of over consumption is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain… Much Gain!
Tip#3 – Drink plenty of water when attending Holiday meals where rich foods are served!  Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently.  Plus, water will make you feel fuller faster.  There are many benefits to drinking more water with your meals and throughout the day.
Tip#4 – Do not stay at the dinner table after your done eating for conversation.  This is where most of us fall prey in busting our weight over our maintenance weight.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, Champaign, olives…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here; I think I just made myself hungry.”  See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle plan!
Tip 5# – Take your first serving, after you consume this wait 20 minutes before you dive into seconds “seconds is not recommended,” this will be the hardest part of the battle plan!   It takes your brain approximately this much time to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.  This is why it’s easy for someone to overeat that has starved themselves prior to going into the Holiday meal.  They tend to gorge rather than enjoy, then feel the pain!
Tip#6 – Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat desert after you’ve eaten your meal. This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass assault without consequences… Like indigestion, heart burn, bloat, constipation, diarrhea, need I go on?  And how will your body absorb the excess calories [can you say fat cell absorption]?   Wait 1 hour at a minimum to see how your body reacted to the main meal before going for dessert.
Tip#7 – Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.   This can set you up for failure by eating more rich foods throughout the Holiday season.
Tip#8 – Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holiday season, this mistake is made by many.  This is very important!  When you consume excess calories, you will need to defend your body’s health and weight management with additional calorie burn activities.   I highly recommend a daily walking program at a minimum, or other aerobic activity at least 30min/day.

    Hopefully, I’ve provided enough ammo prior to the Holiday meals by providing you tools to help with your consumption habits; without feeling you lost out on a meal event, or worse, compromised your taste buds!  I prefer to go in prepared for Holiday meal events as I’m too familiar with a miserable outcome.  We can enjoy meals during the Holidays.  It simply requires us to build in behavioral tools that provide a “will power edge.”  Who said will power has to be such a tough thing if armed with tools to make the Holiday meal battle easier on us without compromising a great meal experience!


Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @:, Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.



4 responses

11 12 2008

Thanks for this great article. Have you heard that in the Indian culture they consume a large glass of warm water before each meal ?

11 12 2008
Marc Woodard

I didn’t know that. If warm water provides a feeling of fullness more so than cold water… This would be a benefit. Can you provide a citation to this from the Internet about this benefit? If not, that’s ok. I may look for it later. Thanks for the tip!

14 12 2010
Marc Woodard

Another Holiday season is upon us. And the never ending present battle of Man V. Weight will be the calorie intake challenge. How do you prepare for this time of season to maintain weight and fitness levels? There are many tips and recommendation of how to do this. It would interesting to see how you prepare for this time of year and/or if your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight for a more fit trim you. Happy Holidays!

25 12 2010
Marc Woodard

I’m gearing up for the Holiday meals. I’ve got my battle plan ready for the 2010 battle of the buldge. My goal is to loose weight while eating everything I want. I have a secret plan that is full proof. OK, maybe not as full proof as I’d like, but I’m going to give it a good shot. Being mentally prepared is half the battle of maintaining weight during these festive days. Good luck to all of you and enjoy your Holidays with family!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: