How do I keep weight off during the holidays?

Staying Slim During Holidays
1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Since my parents moved into assisted living six months ago, I've been able to take care of myself more. I've even had a chance to exercise and keep weight down. With the holiday season around the corner, I'm afraid the stress of family and parents and the temptation of all those sweets is gonna be enough to throw away all that hard work. What do you guys do to keep extra weight off during holidays?

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

Good for you for focusing on your health after your parents moved into assisted living.

While many of us try to stay thin(ner) during the holidays, most of us won't be successful unless we:

1. Are mindful of what we are eating.

2. Drink only enough alcohol to remain mindful.

3. Enjoy all parts of the meal, but start with a small salad-sized plate.

When you run out of room, you've had enough. So pick what you want to eat, carefully. And while you pick and choose remember how embarrassing it is for us Americans to talk about eating too much when so many around the world are starving. This works to keep me mindful and limits how much I eat.

4. Eat yogurt to help the digestive enzymes.

This will make sure your input (what you eat) easily processes (throughput), so that you can output.

5. Eat colorful foods.

These are both uplifting and healthier for you. Surprisingly, many holiday foods are bland in color--off white (mashed potatoes, turkey, bread, cheesecake) and brown (gravy and even stuffing).

6. Try to take two breaks--one between the appetizers and entree and the other between the main meal and dessert.

When hosting dinners at our home, I always insist on a break between our main meal and dessert. We use this time to clean up, walk any dogs that may have come with visiting families or just take a hike. Guests whose health prevents them from walking go to another room to play games, watch TV, or converse. We sometimes even run the dishwasher to make sure the break is long enough before coming back for dessert.

7. Exercise at least 4 times a week.

Exercise plays such a significant role in weight loss I don't know why I don't do it more often. Plus, it makes us feel sooooo gooood when we're finished.

Know that losing the last 10 pounds is difficult. Losing those last 5 pounds seems almost impossible. But you can do it, if you're patient and make sure that despite the indiscretions of occasional overeating, you keep these 7 tips in mind as your move closer to your goal.

If you remain mindful of how you feel and what you eat, you'll be happier each time you get on the scale.

On a personal note

I began my first diet 3 months ago after jogging and hiking couldn't overcome the effects of a low thyroid and continual eating (add menopause to this mix) and I ended up weighing more than I ever have.

Goal: Lose 16 pounds. Although, I have experienced many ups and downs--visit to Wisconsin and Illinois for the best cheese and deep dish pizza, wine tasting with too many wonderful hors d 'Oeuvres with dinner afterward, and Thanksgiving featuring our first deep-fried turkey, I've managed to lose 11 pounds following most of these 7 tips most of the time. I have 5 more pounds to go.