Nutritional Tips Over the Holidays

Written By: Heather
Heather Kempton Coquitlam Couples Counsellor


Be realistic and keep your expectations and perception in check. Don’t try to lose weight/inches over the holiday season, instead focus on maintaining your current body comp. Feelings of guilt and/or shame around food choices will not empower you towards sustainable change. Right now in this moment you have the option to define your nutritional goals over the holidays. Make them realistic and attainable. Take into account the number of times you may be attending social gatherings and eating out. Be kind to yourself when setting personal expectations. Once your goals have been defined, connect with an individual you trust and tell them what your goals are and how you plan to implement them. Feel free to speak to me about your goals over the holiday and how I may be able to help you sustain change and achieve accountability. Remember you are capable of success, all you need to do is to be willing to try.


Exercise helps to relieve stress and manage body composition. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help to offset the increase in calories consumed over the holiday season. If you are planning on hitting a lot of social gatherings which will involve more food then normal plan to incorporate physical activity on the day of and after the event.


Do not arrive at a holiday party starving. Be sure to hydrate prior to a party and have a healthy snack prior to going so that you will be less tempted to over-indulge. Place emphasis on protein intake at each meal to help manage cravings and hunger.


Observe holiday spread prior to grabbing your plate and loading it up. Choose small portions of your favourite food and balance it out with vegetables. If possible choose a smaller plate, as this forces you to be mindful of portion control. Before going back for more ask yourself “how do I feel right now in this moment”…“how will eating this make me feel when I am done”…Choose to speak kindly to yourself and take ownership of your food choices.


Allow your stomach to register how it is feeling in order to avoid eating until you are uncomfortably full. Give your mind and body time to check in with how you are feeling, giving yourself the option to go up for more vs going all out on the first round.


Alcohol is most likely to lower inhibitions and promote overeating and unhealthier choices. Be aware of what alcohol beverages are highest in sugar and calories. If you are focused on maintaining weight over the holiday season look to minimize alcohol consumption and/or choose something with minimal sugar. When choosing to consume alcohol pair each beverage with 500ml of water in order to avoid dehydration and excessive alcohol consumption. Consuming a minimum of 2-3 litres of water per day depending on your size and activity level will also prevent misreading hunger signals and over indulging at a social gathering.


If you over indulge at one meal go lighter on the next meal. It takes 500 calories per day or 3500 calories per week on average above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. You will not destroy the hard work you have been putting in to achieve your ideal body comp with one piece of desert.


Plan group activities with family and friends that are not centred around food and/or alcohol. Choose relationships and environments that make it easy to sustain your nutritional goals around the holidays. We all have the ability to say no and control what we choose to put in our mouth. By choosing relationships and environments that support a healthy lifestyle you will have an easier time in sustaining your goals.