How NOT to Gain a Holiday Pound

You know it’s true: People tend to gain weight over the holidays. In fact, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that many of us gain an average of one pound around the holidays—and don’t take it off. Well, this year will be different. There are some sneaky ways to eat your holiday treats without packing on the permanent pounds.

1. Exercise it off
It’s an easy equation: if you eat more today, you have to exercise more tomorrow. That’s how you undo the damage, says registered dietitian Amaris Noguera. And that goes double if you fell victim to a holiday binge or attack of nerves: “If you find yourself stressed and mindlessly eating,” Noguera says “take a walk or practice some meditative yoga to replace an unhealthy habit with a stress-relieving one.”

2. Cut back the next day
Yes, it’s all about calories in and calories out. If you overindulged today, consume fewer calories tomorrow, says Sharecare Fitness Expert Kat Barefield. It is basic common sense, but it works. You can recover from overindulging by simply cutting back. Don’t skimp too much (which could lead to overeating again), says Barefield. Just limit the treats and focus on nutrient-dense foods (veggies) instead of empty calories (sweets).

3. Don’t make a habit of it
Don’t beat yourself up for overeating, says nutrition advisor Dominique Adair. “In two decades of practice as a nutrition counselor, I’ve never met anyone who did not lose weight because of ONE episode of overeating,” she says. But do be mindful: “The trouble starts when one episode stretches into an entire day, week, month—you get the picture.” The key to nip overeating in the bud is to understand what caused it. “You should try to think about the circumstances that led up to the overeating … so that you can try to understand the behavior and practice correcting the response the next time around,” she says.

Research by Cathy Poley

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File under: Healthy Holidays


Anne Krueger

A print editor turned digital junkie, Anne launched during her tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Parenting magazine and blogged at while Executive Editor at Health magazine. She launched and has worked at and

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