How to prevent extra holiday pounds

The trick-or-treaters have come and gone, leaving all-too-tempting candy bars behind and the marathon that starts with the weeks before Thanksgiving and ends with the ball dropping in Times Square has begun. If you, like many, are prone to putting on a few extra pounds during this festive season, now is a great time to start planning your defense. Sarah Mohrman, RDN, CD, MA, dietitian/coordinator wellness and marketing, Parkview Physician’s Group – Cardiology, has some helpful strategies for staying on track in the weeks ahead.  

Did you know the average person gains 1.4 pounds over the holidays? Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? The problem is, that weight that settles in over the 6-week holiday season is still with us one year later! Studies show that over 50 percent of annual weight gain is attributed to the holiday season.

During this busy and decadent time of year, our goal should truly be to maintain our weight. Do you have an accountability partner? Start there. Enlist a friend or family member and weigh in before Thanksgiving, knowing you will be weighing in again after New Year’s Day. Setting a goal and having someone who is helping you stay accountable can certainly help you say no to that extra helping of pumpkin pie!

Now that you have a starting point, here are some other tips to help you keep the scale steady over the holidays.

Before you go …

  • Hydrate. Drink a few glasses of water before a holiday party starts.  
  • Don’t show up hungry. Depriving yourself during the day sets you up to overdo it at the party.  Try eating an apple or a pear, which has extra fiber and nutrients, to help curb your hunger.
  • Bring a smart side. Pitch in with a low calorie, healthy option that you can be sure to load up on. Bring a veggie platter full of colorful choices and a Greek yogurt dip. (Dietitian tip: Chobani Mezé™ Dips have only 25 calories per serving!)
  • Get moving. Start your day with a good workout, about 45-60 minutes.  Ever tried the Galloping Gobbler on Thanksgiving morning or other local walks? It’s a great way to start your family festivities. Do it together and start a new tradition!

At the gathering …

  • Out of sight, out of mouth. Mingle away from the buffet table. Standing right next to the tempting food leads to mindless munching on appetizers, snacks and seconds.
  • Play up the portions. Take only small servings of your traditional favorites and try to fill half of your plate up with low calorie vegetable choices.
  • Drink wisely. Consuming water throughout the festivities will help you feel more full and less tempted for more food.
  • Take a timeout. If you want seconds, try waiting 10 minutes before returning to the food buffet.  This will allow you time to determine if you are still hungry or just tempted.
  • Slice of the pie. Cut pies into 10 pieces instead of 8. You will save 20 percent of the calories. Better yet, cut it into 12 and save 33 percent! You will be satisfied with that sliver of pie without all the guilt.
  • Take a lap. Initiate a family walk after dinner or take the kids outside to a nearby park or field and play a friendly game of football, tag, soccer or Wiffle ball. 

After the party …

  • Goodbye, goodies! Send all of the desserts home with others so they don’t tempt you throughout the week.
  • Let the leftovers last. Freeze leftovers in single servings for quick lunches or dinners.
  • Spread the love. Share your leftovers with an elderly neighbor who may appreciate your kind offering and need some extra nutrition.
  • Move and be merry. Gather a group of friends and family members and go caroling once a week in different neighborhoods throughout the holiday season. Have fun while being active and spreading holiday cheer.
  • Tis the season to sweat. Make physical activity a priority throughout the busy holiday weeks. Not only will this help you keep on track for your weight maintenance goal, it will help reduce stress! Family and obligations got your spirits down?  Head out for some fresh air and clear your mind.

Sarah’s seasonal favorites

Share these recipes, featured on, with your loved ones this holiday season.

Lightened Up Green Bean Casserole with Shallot Crumb Topping
Get the recipe

Chicken Sausage and Herb Stuffing
Get the recipe

Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Get the recipe

Make-Over Corn Casserole
Get the recipe


Need assistance?

Contact us