Four Easy Ways To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, Americans gain an average of 5 pounds.  Here are simple ways to avoid the holiday bulge while still enjoying the festivities!

Between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Americans gain an average of 5 pounds….which most people don’t lose until Easter!

Here are simple steps you can take to avoid weight gain during the upcoming holiday season.

1) Weigh Yourself Often

            The latest research shows that people who weighed themselves every day were more likely to stick to their weight goals.  The longer you go between weigh-ins, the more weight you’re likely to gain.  Keeping a close eye on your weight during this holiday season will help you course-correct before you gain an unhealthy amount of weight.

2)  Eat Before The Party

            One of the surefire ways to gain weight is to show up to a holiday party hungry.  Filling up on high-calorie foods like cheese, meatballs, creamy dips and cookies will expand your waistline faster than you can say Kris Kringle.  Instead, have a healthy snack (like a salad or hummus and vegetables or a bowl of light soup) before you leave the house and you’ll be able to enjoy the party….minus a few thousand extra calories.

       3)  Eliminate Liquid Calories

            While holiday drinks can be delicious, many of them are not calorie friendly.  For example, the average cup of eggnog has more than 300 calories and 19 grams of fat!  A 4-ounce Cosmopolitan has more than 200 calories.  And a grande pumpkin spice latte has 380 calories and a whopping 52 grams of carbohydrates!  Drinking sparkling water, tea or coffee (without the whipped cream and sugary syrups!), will go a long way in helping you avoid unwanted holiday weight gain.

        4)  Use A Smaller Plate

              It turns out that our eyes really do impact our appetite.  The bigger the plate, the emptier it seems, and the more likely we are to help ourselves to heaping servings.  During the holidays, the food we heap on our plate is often high in calories and fat.  While we want our patients to enjoy a taste of all the holiday treats, you’ll be able to avoid overdoing it if you use a smaller plate.  (You can always go back for seconds if you really, really, really want another helping of your aunt’s candied sweet potatoes!)

From all of us at GGUC, we hope you have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

Sarah Thebarge MMSc, PA-C Sarah Thebarge earned her physician assistant degree at Yale School of Medicine, and then studied journalism at Columbia School of Journalism. She has been a physician assistant and a freelance journalist since 2004. In addition to caring for patients at Golden Gate Urgent Care, Sarah frequently volunteers her medical skills in the developing world. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, USA Today and National Geographic, and her blog was featured on She is the author of the memoir The Invisible Girls and the upcoming book WELL: Healing our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa. She currently lives in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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