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12 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Still Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

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Prepare yourself for a double-edged sword: It's holiday party season! While we love the food and festivities, we're not huge fans of the seemingly inevitable weight gain that comes with them. If you’re worried letting your hair down could mean waving goodbye to your weight-loss goals, take note of this night-out know-how from Yvonne Sanders, obesity expert at Slimming World, the largest independent weight-loss company in the U.K.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Still... Eat

Be bold: If your celebrations involve eating out, don’t be afraid to ask for your food to be cooked in a certain way or for a different combination of items. Requesting butter or sauces on the side, or swapping fries for a baked potato or vegetables, will help you feel more in control of your meals.

Choose wisely: Grilled, boiled, or steamed options tend to be the healthiest in restaurants, and choosing tomato-based dishes over something creamy will protect your weight loss, too.

Preparation is key: Before hitting a party, fill up with a hearty homemade meal so you’re less likely to be tempted by the less healthy nibbles. Keep something microwavable on standby too, in case you end the night with the munchies.

Office grinch: The holidays mean there are lots of treats floating around in the office that you may be tempted to grab as a quick snack. Instead, plan ahead and take in snacks that are typically low in calories, help manage your weight, and are highly satisfying, like fresh fruits and vegetable sticks.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Still... Drink

Watch your glass: Keep an eye on the generous party host who might be topping up your glass without you even realizing.

At the bar: While it might seem a little sneaky, choosing a soft drink when it’s your round will save you calories and cash — no one even needs to know your diet cola doesn’t have vodka in it!

Boost your beverage: "Lengthen" your drinks so they'll take more time to enjoy. For instance, if white or rose wine is your drink of choice, try adding seltzer water to turn it into a spritzer.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Still... Be Merry

Dance: Parties are a time for fun, so ladies, kick off those ridiculously high heels and hit the dance floor to show off your best moves. Getting our daily step count in on a night out? We’re sold!

Take a class: If it's too cold to work out outdoors, give your local fitness center a try. Many rec centers and gyms introduce new activities around the holidays like themed Zumba, yoga, or boot camp classes!

Set a goal: If there’s a big event toward the end of the season, choose a gorgeously glamorous outfit to wear now. Your determination to look and feel fabulous in it will help you to stay motivated — and just imagine how satisfying it’ll feel when you receive your first compliment!

Get rid of guilt: If you go off-track, it’s tempting to beat yourself up and tell yourself you’ve blown it. Don’t allow yourself to sabotage your success; simply put it behind you, get straight back on track, and feel confident that the weight will come off again.

Don’t write it off: It’s easy to tell yourself it’s too hard to lose weight in the run up to the holidays and that you’ll start again in January; however, it's possible to continue to make healthy choices and reach the New Year feeling like a new you. Consider joining a weight-loss program like Slimming World to make sure you have the support you need to make your weight loss a priority — support is even more important during challenging times like the holidays!

Yvonne Sanders, Head of Operations for Slimming World in the United States, is an obesity expert, regular speaker at networking events, such as the HRSouthwest Conference, and a frequent guest on both local and national television and radio programs.

Exclusive offer for First for Women readers: Visit Slimming World’s website here and use code FIRSTFORWOMEN2018 to join Slimming World for only $15 for three months – a huge 50% savings – today!

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