How to Survive the Holidays without Getting Fat!

With Thanksgiving we officially usher in the season of food centered social gatherings. Whether it’s a work party, family reunion or a friendly get together with your girls friends, opportunities for sharing in friendship around tantalizing treats abound!

And these events feed much more than our tummies… the holidays are filled with warmth, joy and love, and if we allow ourselves to truly enjoy the moments we share with loved ones, they have a way of imprinting themselves on our very soul!

How to Survive the Holidays without getting fat title image

Ah but… these times can also lead to a lot of guilt…

God knows the last thing we moms need in our lives is more guilt!

With the guilt comes all the negative self talk as we confront the results of our overindulgence…

“OMG, I’m soooo FAT!”

“How could I do this to myself? I’ve got no self control…”

And on and on it goes …


The holidays are a time to enjoy the love that surrounds us and it’s really not that hard to savor the moment without putting on the pounds.

Here are some of my secret strategies to enjoy everything the holidays have to offer without throwing out all the hard work I’ve done all year long  and feeling guilty about it.

~ At Home ~

Drink Lots of Water

If you’ve been following me for a while you know I’m a big fan of drinking lots of water and the holidays is no exception. In fact quite the contrary. I love a good glass of wine or home made eggnog with a shot of brandy, but those beverages do not replace my water. In fact for every glass if wine or other spirits I enjoy, I make sure to drink two glasses of water. That way I stay nicely hydrated and I’m much less likely to become the party lush or take in way too many calories that will sneak up on me leaving me feeling bad about myself. Keep your water habits the same as you normally would (half your body weight in ounces a day) and add a glass or two as needed to keep your blood cells nice and healthy.

Sparkling water with slice or orange and drop of cinnamon essential oil is quite festive and delicious!

Add Some Fiber

Fiber is the secret weapon of many personal trainers. Why? In addition to keeping you regular and stabilizing your blood sugar, fiber adds bulk and keeps you feeling full. And if your feeling full you are much less likely to over indulge right?

Some of my favorite fiber options are Chia seeds. Add a tablespoon to your favorite protein shake before you head out or sprinkle them on top of your salad for lunch. You can also add a spoonful of your favorite soluble fiber supplement to a glass of water. One of my favorite is Clear Fiber by Renew Life. It’s flavor less and dissolves completely in a simple glass of water without even a hint of grit. It’s perfect in your morning smoothie if you’re planning on going for a marathon shopping spree.

Get Rid of Temptation

Don’t torture yourself by keeping all your favorite treats in the house. If you’re baking cookies for your little one’s teachers, buy what you need when you need it, bake the cookies and give them ALL away!

And make sure you don;t stock up on your favorite healthy snacks either. Too much of a good thing is still too much so do yourself a favor and limit what’s available so you won’t go raiding the pantry when you come home in the wee hours of the morning.

Stay on Schedule

It’s so easy to skip a meal when you’re out and about holiday shopping, but whatever you do don’t forget to eat. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast with some protein and pack some healthy snacks with you. So even if you don’t have time for a sit down lunch you won’t go hungry and let your blood sugar take a dangerous dive. Arriving at a party hungry is the surest way to devour whatever comes your way and in copious quantities.

Snack Smart

Snacking between meals helps to keep your blood sugar stable and your tummy full. But make sure you include some protein in your snacks and limit your portions. If you’re at home a quarter cup of humus with some fresh cut veggies, or a sliced apple with 2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter are great choices. How about a half a cup of Greek yogurt with chopped pecans, half an apple and dried cranberries? I also love to savor a protein shake but if you feel the need to munch that probably won’t satisfy you.

If you know you’re going to be out and about most of the day, pack some healthy snacks before you go. Raw nuts and dried fruits are great but measure out your portions before you. If you’re anything like me and you pack a 1lb bag of raw almonds in your purse and start snacking mindlessly, you’re likely to get through half the bag in no time! And that is a TON of calories even if they are healthy calories. I use mini ziplock bags I buy at the craft store and pack no more than a couple of them. That way no matter one, I’ll have what I need but won’t be able to over indulge.

Eat Before You Go Out

There really is no need to test your will power so even if you are going out to a lavish dinner party have something to eat before you go. This way even if dinner is served late you won’t be tempted to grab everything in site when the hors d’oeuvre are passed around.

A protein shake is one of my personal favorites. It keeps me satiated without spiking my blood sugar and doesn’t leave me feeling stuffed.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

Ah yes that evasive beauty sleep! Let’s be honest, most moms I know don’t get their much needed sleep no matter what, but especially not during the holiday season. There’s just so much to do, what with playing Santa’s helper and al, who has time for sleep?

But sleep is key to looking and feeling your best and most importantly, to making sound decisions. Whether you’re out shopping or at your company Christmas cocktail party, you’re much less likely to regret anything you do when you are well rested. So whatever you do make sure to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every single night. You’ll be glad you did, I promise!

Can’t fall asleep? Turn off the computer or the TV and take a nice hot bath after the kids have gone to bed, have your hubby indulge you with a massage, sip a warm cup of lavender tea… do whatever you need to do but make sure you get your zzz’s.

~ At the Party ~

Keep your hands busy

clutch-bag-4It’s hard to reach for that tempting canapé or chocolate truffle when you are holding a gorgeous clutch. Whether you favor Micheal Kors or Louis Vuitton, pack your personal must-haves in a beautiful clutch and show it off!

Strike up a conversation

Although much of the focus at parties is on food, it’s the people you share the moment that make these gatherings memorable. Catch up with an old friend, or get to know a co-worker you’ve just met. You’re much less likely to let food and spirits distract you if you’re truly engaged in a inspiring conversation.

Wear a fitted dress

You may think I’m crazy but honestly are you really going to overindulge and allow that belly of yours to hang out if you are wearing a sexy little number? Of course not. Forget about stretchy pants with a lose fitting top. And don’t even think about unbuttoning your jeans. Wear something fitted and strut your stuff with confidence. You’ve worked hard all year to maintain that gorgeous figure so go ahead and show it off!

Know your numbers

Those scrumptious baby quiches or smoked salmon purses look innocent enough but don’t be fooled!


Photo courtesy Petrossian

A bite or two is fine, but a dozen…! Yep it’s so easy to eat four to five times more calories than you would ever choose to when you’re eating them one tiny delicious bite at a time… especially when those scrumptious bites are richer than most foods you’d ever eat at home.

Mix things up and keep track of what you’re eating and you won’t have any surprises when you hop on the scale the next day. So go aead and indulge in the onion tart with smoked salmon or the mini Opéra cakes, but make sure you munch on some veggies or fruit in between those luscious bites.

Savor Every Bite

Have you ever noticed how much richer food taste when you take the time to truly savor each and every bite? So rather than shovel one forkful after the other with barely time to chew in between, take your time and enjoy the food your host has lovingly prepared for you. Put your fork down between bites and savor the love that was poured into the meal you are enjoying.

Keep Moving!

Whether you go out for a daily walk or Zumba class keep moving. Okay, rushing through the mall from store to store counts, a little bit, but don’t talk yourself into skipping your daily workout, even if you’ve parked at the other end of the mall. It you’re short on time, this is the time to get into BURST – twenty minutes a day is all you need to look and feel fabulous.

You’ve got to do chores around the house right? Why not have fun doing them and getting your exercise at the same time? My favorite? Cranking up the music and dancing my butt off while I dust and vacuum!  It’s a blast, makes time fly and the girls love to join in the fun.

Forgive (but Do Not Forget)

At the end of the day if you’ve had one too many eggnogs or caved in and sampled every single dessert, be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself. Moms are much too good at feeling guilty and this is one of those times where you really need to be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you went overboard but don’t beat yourself up over it. You had fun, the food was amazing and the party too short…

Let go of any guilt … and make yourself a promise that you won’t make it a habit. One night of overindulgence is fine, but that’s it.  Get back to your healthy routine as soon as you wake up the next day. Grab an accountability partner if you need one. I’m sure you’ll find many of your fellow moms will be more than happy to have a partner with whom to stay on track. 🙂

Whatever you do, remember this is a time for celebrating the wonderful people that make your life rich and beautiful. So go ahead and make the most of it!

What are some of your favorite ways to stay Sane and Sexy throughout the Holiday Season?



  1. Such great tips!

    You know you mention getting rid of temptation, there are these peppermint candies that I love and my husband bought me a bag but hid them. Every once in a while he leaves a few out for me. It’s kind of fun and keeps me from over-indulging.

    • I LOVE that! That is such a fun way to keep special treats around without going crazy trying not to eat them all. Your husband’s a smart man… keeping you happy in such a playful way. My 16 year old daughter loves to make peppermint bark and it’s hard for her to stop at just one or two bites… I’m going to have to try this with her. My personal downfall is chocolate! The richer the better!

  2. I really needed this right now as I head into the holiday. Keeping your hands busy and wearing a fitted dress is such a great suggestion. The sleep part along with keep moving is where I will need to be more diligent for sure. 🙂

  3. Eating before I go and water do the trick for me! At a party, in particular, I have a glass of wine and then a glass of water… keeps me full AND sober!

  4. Lots of great tips here! Now to find that party to go to…

  5. Hi Valarie, thanks for nice doable tips! These are simple things many people tend to overlook. I’ll remember to “savor every bite” and “keep moving”. 🙂

    • You are welcome Krisma. (what a beautiful name by the way) Yes take time to savor… we rush through so much of our day, especially this time of year… savor, relish, treasure! Have a splendid Christmas!

  6. Really good tips! (But I LOVE those baby quiches!) Thanks for the reminder. I like that your first tip is to drink lots of water. That one’s easy enough to do, and really works.

  7. Your post gave me a great idea. Being the introvert I am, I really abhor this time of year. And this year, has LOTS of parties. Usually my husband, the all out extrovert, is by my side so it makes things easier. But if that doesn’t happen, I am the one who eats 12 of something (slowly mind you) instead of four. But I’ve been drinking more water since the summer. Soooo, I like the tip of drinking more water, which I will do before I go for the four of something. Thanks!

    • You are most welcome Patricia!!! Water is my saving grace! I especially love sparkling water. The bubbles feel festive and if I add some fresh fruits in there I feel like I am enjoying a special cocktail.. It also keeps me pleasantly full so I am less tempted by all the other goodies vying for my attention 🙂 Good luck!!!

  8. reading this while snacking….

  9. Terry Stevens says:

    These are some really great ideas and I know I need to be reminded before the holidays begin to be cognizant of my behaviors and watch what I eat and drink.

    • I’m thrilled you like these ideas Terry. I love to indulge in all sorts of scrumptious things myself but I don’t like the guilt trip that follows. I’ve found that by planning ahead I enjoy this time of year even more since I put all that worry behind me 🙂 All the best this holiday season.

  10. Though I’m excited to eat specially during this holiday event, Still i keep in mind that for me to eat during holiday season must be the same as an ordinary day meal.

    • I love that Roselle because in the end you are absolutely right! The holidays shouldn’t give us a license to overindulge. We may be surrounded with an abundance of enticing dishes and all sorts of treats but if we truly savor every bite we don’t really need a lot. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  11. Deborah Caudill says:

    Thanks for your excellent article with the great ideas on how not to overdo it by eating or drinking too much and thereby either gaining weight or feeling way too full by trying everything on the table.

    • You are most welcome Deborah and I’m thrilled you enjoyed the read and the tips… It can be sooo tempting to eat everything on the table! Holidays bring out the best in every cook and baker it seems!

  12. So many great tips. I often find myself snacking so much during the day that when it comes time for dinner I am already so full, lol. I have started drinking way more water and it helps tremendously.. I find it that I am often times thirsty and not hungry. Happy Holidays to you and your family! xo

    • Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones as well Starla! Sounds like you are doing a great job sticking to your healthy habits this time of year. You are so right away often being thirsty rather than hungry!

  13. Kimberly Flickinger says:

    I always struggle with this during the holidays. Thankfully I have a fitness buddy, my mother. Thank you for sharing these tips, will definitely keep these in mind this holiday season.

  14. Terry Poage says:

    Thanks for all these great tips. when winter comes I hibernate like a bear and get fat.

  15. Now I can enjoy the holidays without any stress about getting fat!!

  16. Jorge Granda says:

    Very interesting information, it must be very common for people to over eat and gain some weight around the holidays. However, I don’t think that I have ever had this problem.

    • It is unfortunately far too common for people to overindulge and gain weight over the holidays Jorge… You are blessed not to have this problem. I do my best to stick to healthy choices but I do LOVE to indulge in certain things. I try to keep things balanced though, so that I may enjoy the indulgences without the guilt.

  17. Those are all great ideas, thanks for sharing! I usually don’t have a problem with food and holiday items. I am diabetic so I need to watch all the time although I pretty much have what I want, moderation is the key. Happy Holidays!

    • Happy Holidays to you Kathleen! Living with diabetes does teach you to be mindful of everything you eat and to avoid all that sugar! It sounds like you follow a healthy eating plan and don’t feel deprived in any way 🙂

  18. You have some great points. I need to add healthy snacks to my day so I don’t overeat later in the evening!

  19. I would always eat something small before or eat lunch before going to whoevers house. I understand how the holidays are always stressful when we over eat and stuff. AHHH~

    • Such a great habit Tara! My 19 year old has started doing that before she heads out with friends. She realized how easy it is to overeat no matter what time of year it is when you’re out having a good time. So much of our socializing is done around food but it doesn’t have to be something that leads to guilt.

  20. Very good points for year round actions.

  21. Probably should have read this prior to the holidays 🙂 I took the month off. I needed to enjoy and not stress. Now I am making up for it. It was worth it 😉

  22. Holiday season specially here in the Philippines means food and family, In every house of a family member food are always served and it is also a way to reunite with each other and there is now way you can escape a house without an empty plate haha. We just need to follow some tricks and your list is a good one. 🙂

    • I have quite a few friends from the Philippines Agnes and they LOVE to share food! And I love that about your culture 🙂 Many cultures have food as a central point, a way to share love as well as nourishment. It’s beautiful! And it can be something we enjoy without guilt or worry about unhappy consequences. I’m part French, and part Mexican American. Most of our celebrations center around food as well… And I LOVE rich decadent foods! I believe we should enjoy those things, but I know I don’t have to stuff myself silly every time I get with loved ones… I savor one small bite at a time and share in conversations 😉

  23. Kimberly Flickinger says:

    These are great tips as I always gain weight during the holiday season. I will be sure to keep these in mind when the holidays come around again.

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