How To Avoid Gaining Weight During The Holidays

buffetThere is a way to avoid gaining weight during the holidays, and it is not based on the dualistic binge/diet, good/bad eating patterns of old, or any sacrifice whatsoever. Matter of fact, you can still enjoy a buffet of foods (not the one to left), and it is so enjoyable you will wonder why you were never eating this way before ~ John Allen Mollenhauer

When it comes to food there is no time period more influential than the Holidays. There are more stories floating around on the Internet about how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays, you could fill volumes of books by simply copying and pasting. It’s confusing to say the least, especially with thousands of diets on the market priming the patterns of old, so that they will be your weight loss solution or healthier eating plan for the New Year.

During the Holidays you may find that sticking to any diet whatsoever can seem like it’s impossible. For most this is true, especially since they have never really established an eating style with a sound mind set, enough experience, and momentum in what, how and why they eat the way they do with a stable keel; so it’s no wonder people eat the way they do. If you haven’t established an eating style for yourself, such as eating “nutrient rich,” (AKA “healthy”) you’ll eat whatever, whenever and it is down right consequential, in a negative sort of way. It’s also what gives rise to the entire dieting industry that spikes in January.

At the Christmas dinner and surrounding parties, from Thanksgiving to New Years, you eat a little (no, allot) extra here and there, and most likely it’s the usual holiday fare of cakes, alcohol, cookies, chocolate, shrimp, fish, turkey, gravy, etc. I could fill this entire blog post with nothing but the array of different foods (or food stuffs) we will be tempted with, served and eat during the Holidays; let alone the whole year. The list is that long.

It all tastes so good we must admit and if you’re like most people, you’ve already decided one of two things; 1) you’re going lighten up and go with the flow of eating whatever, whenever it shows up, afraid to upset Grandma, or 2) you are going to do so and set a resolution to lose weight and eat healthier in January, that way you can “enjoy the Holidays.” Right?

Of course, you’ll also exercise like a mad-woman or a madman, to simply “burn off” the calories; as if the body can just burn off whatever we choose to ingest like a fat burning furnace, without compromise to the function of the very furnace itself. That idea is so antiquated physiologically, it can marvel even the novice these days as many of us are getting more intelligent.

To most, those two options are the essence of their New Years Resolution: To “enjoy the holidays” and then eat healthier and exercise more, and probably to fit some of the clothes that are becoming a bit too tight as you read this. It is though, doomed to fail even before January comes, psychologically, physiologically and socially.

Have you considered the third option? Do you know that there actually is one? If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you do; but read it anyway. It’s good reinforcement given all our prior poor training in life, around diet that could quite possibly be lingering, especially during the holidays.

This third option just so happens to be the best option of all and frankly the only option that works. It escapes the dualistic binge/diet, good/bad eating dynamics that lead you straight into the vicious cycle of eating nutrient poor, despite your best of intentions come January.

Now I’m all for celebrating and having a grand ole’ time with Grandma. You should enjoy the Christmas season and everything that comes with it. Life is to be lived and enjoyed as much as possible, not only through the Holidays; it’s just that this whole premise of eating poorly then eating healthier in the New Year is nothing but nutritional marketing. It’s a cultural story that has sucked most of us into its shadow for most of our lives and it doesn’t  need to be that way. It never did. It’s a false premise that has everything to do with commerce, not your enjoyment or your health.

The lens most of us are looking through when it comes to “surviving the holidays” and trying to avoid gaining weight during the Holidays as it is usually put, is one that is rooted deeply in our culture. It is to eat the way most people eat, be merry so to speak and eat any and all foods regardless of nutritional value (no- doubt served with love) and then adopt some variety of eat less, exercise more “arduous” weight loss strategy after it’s all over.

Even for people who think they are very smart, and think they have left this old pattern behind; they have been so trained by the market over decades of time that way back in their mind the thoughts are still there. Even for this author!

So What is the Third Option?

Well, it’s power comes from having consciously established an eating style at some point, ideally as part of a lifestyle that supports you, all year round. It’s not arduous, and it’s based on the cornerstone of nutrition – high nutrient density eating, where up to 90% or more of the foods you eat, are “nutrient rich.” It’s so powerful in so many ways, and enjoyable, plus effective at steering you clear of the Holiday melodrama, we started a site about it!! This one.

It’s actually not a “diet” in the weight loss only context the way most people use the term; it is a quality standard for the way you eat that has guidelines for achieving results most people only dream of but very few will ever experience. And it not based on the old dualistic binge/diet pattern of good and bad eating forged in our minds by a colossal diet industry that has an inherent interest in promoting this craziness.

Understanding nutrient rich eating, will not only reveal how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays, it will set you up for life with an eating style people around you will envy, in a good way.

The third option is this…

Eat up to 90% of More Plant Based Nutrient Rich foods this holiday season and throughout the year. You don’t have to be perfect, but you want the majority of what you eat to be healthy foods prepared in such great tasting ways that you feel good while you eat and even better after. This is what those who are successful with food do.

Sure there is always that situation where you will eat a nutrient poor food, but when it’s less than 10% of the foods you eat, depending on what it is, it will have a limited, but no less impactful effect on you.

  • If you are new eating a whole foods, plant-based nutrient rich diet, you will be feeling great about all your healthy choices, and the small amount of nutrient poor foods will be welcomed since you are very familiar with them. You don’t feel deprived either. You’ll have just enough to feel like you weren’t missing anything.
  • If you are a veteran at eating a plant based, nutrient rich that less than 10% nutrient poor food indulgence will remind you why you eat the way you and how much you enjoy it, as your nose starts to run quickly and and your throat starts to scratch up.

Nonetheless, most people can do just just fine, with just enough of a discretionary fund for nutrient poor foods during the holidays and throughout the year, to never miss the foods we were brought up on, and just brim with happiness at all the food they are eating.

So here are some key tips for avoiding weight gain during the holidays.

1) Start Now. Begin making the switch to nutrient rich eating. Don’t wait for the New Year.

2) Start making, bringing and zeroing in on nutrient rich foods, meals and menus to eat throughout the Holiday season. There is a plant based, more nutrient rich equivalent for virtually every foodstuff you are eating right now. You just have to discover them.

3) Never go to a party or event on an empty stomach, unless you know it’s going to be serving mostly, or exclusively plant-based, nutrient rich foods. Even then, you may want to eat some ahead of time so that you don’t go crazy at the buffet. But that’s just common sense.

Here’s how:

  •     Eat high-nutrient, high volume, lower calorie or even more energy dense foods ahead of time.
  •     Eat a salad meal with assorted raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, some beans, whole grains etc, or a hearty bowl of vegetable soup before going out always does this trick. Make it the way you love it. It’s so satiating, your desire eat even your most formidable old food favorite will wane.

4) When you are at any Holiday meal, pick the most nutrient rich foods 90% of the time or more, from the likely buffet. While you don’t need to ever “give up,” anything really, eat 10% or less of nutrient poor foods. Get full first then decide if you even need to overload your body with foodstuff that really doesn’t even serve you. Leaving a 10% or less fund for some of the usual foodstuffs so common to this year served by loving people who don’t know better, will help you just cruise through the season, without any sticking points.

5) Leave the dieting mentality behind. The key to eating healthy and successfully, in a way that works for you, is meeting your nutrient needs from foods you enjoy; eating until you are no longer hungry and then stopping.

  • All diet traps are based on eating foods made or born with a nutrient poor character and can even include dieting when eating healthy. The point here is not to default to the what market mostly serves up or dieting at all.
  • If you do overeat, overeat “nutrient rich.” When this happens you just wait until you are hungry again, which will take a while.

6) Don’t even think of bringing or eating fake cake and candy. You don’t need to; make (not bake) a Nutrient Rich cake and eat the real thing. Replace the sweets on the table with natural sweets (they taste better anyway). Emphasize, fruit-based desserts, date/nut type treats, and other natural indulgences available in even the healthiest eating style on the planet. You will still have a buffet of foods and sweets in a nutrient rich eating style, and may even still feel the need to limit these foods as these foods are super filling. They are not only nutrient dense, but calorie dense at the same time.

7) On the days where you are invited out, pick the healthiest things to eat to suggest you go to an eatery that accommodates people who eat healthy. Not so radical right? This is what you do naturally when you have an established eating style. The way you eat out is the way you eat always with few exceptions. That’s the way it is.

Eating healthy successfully today, let alone throughout the holidays is about having an established eating style your body is used to so you don’t even have to avoid gaining weight during the holidays. You want to get to the point where eating unhealthy just doesn’t feel good. During the Holidays it’s about eating ideally but not having to be an idealist. Some flexibility is essential.

The more nutrient rich you eat, the more nutrient rich you’ll eat. When you ADD nutrient rich superfoods to the way you eat, even starting from scratch this Holiday Season, it wil naturally CHANGE the way you eat as these are the foods you were designed to eat. Eventually, even if its not this Holiday Season, you will feel less temptation, and be free of food cravings because you’ll have wholeheartedly changed the way you eat, so this discussion of how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays will become a thing of the past.

If you are going to do anything in the New Year, don’t just learn how to eat “healthier,” learn how to optimize your nutrition. CHALLENGE yourself to eat More Plant Based Nutrient Rich, “superfoods” than ever before.

Last but not the least…

5) Change your story about eating as you go through the holidays; in other words, having a right mind set will enable you to steer clear of this whole cultural dilemma of eating the standard American diet though the holidays, only to try to resolve to eat healthier in the New Year. It doesn’t work.

Just like our stories about life in general, which affect how we do everything in life, the cultural story affects how we eat, especially during the holidays.

In our next post, I’ll show you how to change a deeply embedded story, so that you make the change to eating more plant based nutrient rich even easier this holiday season; and now in 2014 and beyond.

This is the Re New You Year!
We are here to support you.

Happy Holidays,


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