Ask Nicole: 7 Things You MUST DO To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Nicole Sanders is the founder and CEO of Ladimax Sports and Fitness, a women’s only gym in Westchester County, New York.

Hey, ladies. Well it’s that time of the year again—the holidays. Right about now you are making a big promise to yourself that you won’t gain what you did last year. The problem is you’re not quite sure how you’ll do that.

I have spent two decades helping women get through the year, helping them stay (or get back on) track with their fitness. Then comes the holiday gauntlet. You know what I’m talking about: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s all add up to tighter clothes and that same old sinking feeling.


Follow the steps below and you will not gain that 15lbs. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to gain any fat. Do it right and you just might actually lose fat. Yeah, I said it!

Here are 7 tricks to keep holiday weight gain at bay.

1. Start With Calorie-Torching movement

There are three exercises that you can do each morning whether you belong to a gym or not. Depending on your fitness level you can modify this plan to what will work for you. Start out with 10-15 reps, each day add an additional rep.

1. Reverse Lunges
2. Burpees
3. Push-ups

2. Don’t weigh yourself!

You THINK it keeps you in check. What actually happens is that it has a negative effect on you. You weigh yourself and the scale is down. What do you do? Think you have room for a few more calories to indulge a bit. Or, you weigh yourself and the scale is up. What do you do? You skip breakfast, have a yogurt for lunch and a salad for dinner—drastically reducing calories. In both situations, you end up gaining more fat.

3. Don’t swear off anything.

These are the holidays. It’s supposed to be festive and happy times. If there is a time to swear off of the foods you enjoy, this is NOT it!  Why would you? So the key to it is to not deprive yourself by saying you will not have it. You know what happens when someone says ‘you can’t have it’. You want it more. Allow yourself to have a taste. A taste is a spoon, fork full or a sip or two, not a carafe, pitcher or platter.

4. Eat your meals; don’t save up.

If you have not been eating 4-5 meals a day, this is the time to begin or you WILL see that weight creep up. Not eating all morning so that you can save up for the company dinner is a horrible idea! First of all, it’s just embarrassing to scarf down food like that in public but secondly, your body can’t properly digest or utilize food in large quantities that way. Your body takes what it needs, in terms of protein and carbs; the rest gets stored as fat. The best way to avoid this is to eat every few hours in digestible amounts and what your body requires. By the time you get to the dinner, it’s time to eat again but you’re not famished and your body will know when to say enough. Also, you can indulge here a bit because you have had control over what you have eaten all day, which should have been good clean food.

5. Choose Wisely

If we all could have what we wanted, I am sure we would all be on some sunny island with cocktails in our hands being served grapes. You simply cannot have everything that is offered so learn to pick and choose. Peruse the spread first. If they have burgers and sushi, don’t take the sushi first. Choose the burger. By the time you have the bun and other toppings, you may just be too full for anything else and will be unlikely to gorge on sushi at 100 calories a pop. If you choose the sushi first, you will probably not be satiated enough and will then go for the higher calorie options, driving your caloric intake through the roof.

6. No leftovers!

Under no circumstances do you take anything home. Even if you are home and ordering in, plate enough for yourself and that is it. Leftovers are just that, calories leftover that you don’t need because they are what you couldn’t eat. Which means they will get stored as fat in your body.

Finally, a few quick tricks and tips:

  • Weigh yourself and measure your waist a week before Thanksgiving. This will be your baseline. On New Year’s Eve, do it again. Now you know what needs to go on your New Year’s resolution…a plan for great fitness and health for the New Year.
  • Use small dessert plates when at a party or buffet-style dinner. You should be too embarrassed to stock pile your plate.
  • As far as alcohol goes, have a water to every cocktail. Cut those calories and reduce the likelihood of doing something you will regret because you have had one too many.
  • Pick one: pasta, potato, white rice, OR bread. You cannot have them all unless you want to wear them around your waist in 2016.
  • If festivities are more than one night a week: The night you want to indulge in food, don’t indulge in alcohol and vice versa. Choose.
  • Part of keeping your body within normal limits, yet still having a great time, is knowing when and how to choose wisely. Now you know. Have a safe and happy holiday season!