Tips to avoid the holiday weight gain

Between school parties, office parties, neighborhood parties and family parties, avoiding food this time of year is impossible. Before you know it, the Festive 5 sneaks in, permeating your hips, belly and energy level.

The holidays have become our “carte blanche” to overeat with the assurance that come January, we are exonerated. Unfortunately, I think we can all agree that great intentions starting Jan. 1 come to a screeching halt by mid-February. The gym is no longer fun and the power of our favorite foods leaves us weak in the knees.

In my latest book, Nicki Anderson’s Single-Step Weight Loss Solution, I offer some tips to keep weight gain at bay. Whether it’s the holidays, a birthday or simply a challenging time, these tips are designed to help you stay on track and feel great about yourself and your healthy living decisions.

One thing we all know: Dieting sucks

As hard as it is to believe, not all of us were meant to be 5-foot-9 and weigh 130 pounds.

Forty-eight-year-old Naperville mom of four Nicki Anderson has seen hundreds of women set their sights on the “perfect” size, only to fail again and again.

Rather than trotting out yet another diet book, Anderson poured her lifetime of knowledge into what could be considered a tool kit for healthy living-her new book, Nicki Anderson’s Single-Step Weight Loss Solution: 101 No-Nonsense Tips for Healthy Living, Weight Loss and a Diet-Free Life (.95, Healthy Learning).

“When it comes to weight loss, everybody knows how to lose weight, and that is they just stop eating. They have forgotten how to make healthy choices and changes on their own. Basically this tool kit provides them with the tools necessary to not only make good choices but to be able to implement them in a way that makes sense for their lifestyle.”

She preaches taking things one day at a time, making choices today that make you healthier than you were yesterday, not what size you’ll be in six months.

She says she wrote the book for the people who always feel like compulsive failures. “The hope with this book is that it gives people hope,” she says. “My hope is to really give them the opportunity to believe in themselves again, that they can make great choices and they can be healthy.”

-Tamara O’Shaughnessy

Healthy living is not about perfection, it’s more about making healthy changes that make sense for you and your lifestyle.

  1. Know your Achilles heel. Whether it is ice cream, vino, late-night snacks or cookies, we all have a weakness. In fact, different people have different triggers that make saying “No” impossible. These triggers propel all of us at one time or another into an eating frenzy that leaves us full of food and guilt. The holidays typically magnify this phenomenon.The best way to avoid this fate is to either plan ahead or avoid situations that trigger the behavior. For example, alcohol is a big trigger for snacking. So if you’re going to a party or to dinner, always have a glass of water before ordering any alcoholic beverage. Keep alcohol and water 1-to-1. Food choices at parties are rarely health based so bring a couple of your own heart-healthy snacks to nibble on. Never “save up” your calories for a dinner party because you’ll end up eating twice as much. Remember the 4 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Pigging-out!
  2. Don’t skip protein. It appears that a correlation exists between an increase in the percentage of protein consumed and weight loss. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that increased protein, combined with exercise, enhanced both weight and fat loss. If you’d like to know what your body requires, visit to find a registered dietitian in your area. Explore the best way to fuel yourself so you can keep your health and appetite in check.
  3. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. Somewhere along the way we were led to believe that if you can’t get in an hour at the gym, exercise is pointless. Not true. Whether you have only 10 minutes or 20 minutes, do something. The idea is to keep your body active as much as possible. Granted, the holidays usurp what little extra time we have, but the holidays are the most important time to stay on track, not just for vanity, but for sanity. If time is limited, kick up your intensity.
  4. Use sneaky ways to sneak in exercise. Some believe if you can’t join a gym, your exercise isn’t as beneficial. Not true. When my kids were little and I was working full time, I’d have to find ways to sneak in exercise. Brushing my teeth, I’d squeeze in lunges. Watching TV, I’d put my exercise bands around my ankles and do leg work. In between my clients, I’d grab my exercise tubes (elastic bands with handles) and do some resistance exercises. Before bed, a few sit ups and push ups. At the office, dips on the edge of an office chair, wall sits while chatting on the phone. These are all ways to sneak in exercise.
  5. Stay away from unrealistic expectations. All too often women begin a weight-loss program with the expectation that in six weeks their life and body will be ideal. You and I know that’s not the case. Most often, six weeks later we’re feeling lousy because the diet didn’t work and we didn’t get to the gym every day. It’s imperative to take a look at your life and what changes make sense for today. You do need exercise, but stay away from the all-or-nothing scenario. Plan out your week and see what makes sense. Keep your expectations realistic and you’ll be far more likely to realize a healthier you.


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