How To Keep the Pounds Off During the Holidays

by How To Mommy on 11.07.11

Yesterday, some friends of ours all got together for “Pre-Thanksgiving.”  While we all love our families dearly, many times around the holidays being with family causes a little unnecessary drama.

So our Pre-Thanksgiving was all the food and none of the family.  🙂

For me, it was a real eye opener into making better choices to not end up putting on the pounds during the holiday season.  I don’t think I did so well yesterday, but after reading an article from Weight Watchers, I think I’ll be well armed heading into the real day.

I wanted to pass on a few of their best tips so you can make good choices too!

How To Keep The Pounds Off During the Holidays

Consider the worst-case scenario: If you were to eat a serving of dark meat turkey with all the fixings and sides in the plate above it would total a whopping 50 PointsPlus® values. {That’s nearly DOUBLE what most of us have to eat in one day.}  Here’s how to slash that number.

Make classic recipes light
If you’re hosting dinner or bringing a dish to someone else’s house, consider trimming the fat from your recipes. For instance:

  • Make your mashed potatoes creamy with naturally low-fat buttermilk instead of butter
  • Pour your turkey pan drippings into a large glass bowl (or you can use a gravy/fat separator) and allow it to sit for 5 minutes so you can skim off a layer of fat. Use some of the fat in your gravy, not al
  • Slim down your pie by making a light cookie crumb layer instead of a traditional pie crust
  • Leave off the top (or bottom) crust instead of using both. Or forget all about the crusts and bake your pie filling in small ramekins for mini soufflés instead
  • Use whole-wheat bread, not white, for stuffing to increase the fiber and decrease the PointsPlus values (not to mention upping its vitamin and mineral profile)

Know your portions
To help you size up your servings, come armed with some visuals:

  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes is about the size of a tennis ball or your fist
  • 3 ounces of turkey equals a computer mouse or a checkbook
  • 1/2 cup of green bean casserole fits into a small cupcake wrapper or an ice cream scoop
  • 1/4 cup of gravy equals 4 tablespoons; measure out some water in your gravy ladle to see how many tablespoons one full ladle holds

Comparison shop
Look up the PointsPlus values of common foods before the meal so you can make smarter choices. Here’s a mini guide:

Take advice from a pro
New York-based meetings Leader Elizabeth Josefsberg shares her tricks of the trade at the Thanksgiving table:

  • Don’t sit down overly hungry; eat a decent breakfast and lunch
  • Drink alcohol only when you’re eating dinner
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables
  • Only go for one round of food (aka Liz’s “one-plate rule”)
  • Eat the middle of your pie and skip the crust
  • Even if you just take a bite of a puffed pastry or pecan pie, count each taste as 1 PointsPlus value (great rule of thumb for those random BLTs — bites, licks and tastes)

Go for the two-for-one side dish special
Hopefully not all the vegetables are drenched in butter. Opt for two spoonfuls of vegetable side dishes for each starch-based one that you take (and no, potatoes are not a vegetable in this case).

Plan on eating leftovers
There are usually more than enough side dishes for a few meals. Whatever you don’t taste today, you can taste tomorrow.

Seek satisfaction
Think about what’s worth eating and what’s not. You can make yourself a baked sweet potato anytime, but your Aunt’s sweet potato pie is a once-a-year specialty.

I really think by employing these awesome tips, I can continue to be successful on my weight loss journey, in spite of the holidays!

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~The How To Mommy

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth @Our Life November 7, 2011 at 1:32 PM

These are really good tips. I just hope I have the willpower to utilize them.

ps/ You have successfully made me very hungry for Thanksgiving dinner! 🙂


2 How To Mommy November 7, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I need willpower too!


3 Hannah November 7, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Saw your comment on Growing Up Geeky so I thought I’d check out your post. These last 15lbs from my pregnancy don’t seem to want to budge! Great ideas for avoiding extra pounds over the holidays. Definitely think I’ll try the “one plate rule” and it always helps to have visuals of actual serving sizes!


4 How To Mommy November 7, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I think the visuals help too. And I’ve found if you really get everything you want on that first plate, you don’t need to go back for seconds. 🙂


5 Alida November 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM

What great ideas…and thank you for the visuals on serving sizes!


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