Stay Slim and Healthy During the Winter Months

Edited by Robbi, Nerissa Avisado, Anonymous, Ana Balayon and 2 others

Winter and all its holidays often spell the kiss of death for diets because everywhere you look, you are tempted by dishes and desserts that are chock full of cholesterol, sugar, and butter. For some places, the worst thing about winter is that it also happens to be when Christmas and New Year's are celebrated – two holidays that are full of traditions involving food. Moreover, around these two special occasions, an entire season has been created. It is a season marked by special songs, special décor, and special foods. Temptation is simply omnipresent during this period and most people need help to stay slim and healthy during holidays, when food is so plentiful and tempting.

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Studies suggest that the negative impact the winter holidays has on health is rarely reversed. For many people, the pounds gained during the winter celebrations are not only difficult to shed, but they can also actually add to a long-term increase in body weight. In turn, this sustained weight gain means a stronger likelihood of medical problems. Higher cholesterol levels and sugar levels often result from the endless partying that goes on between the last week of November and the first week of January.

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If you have worked hard to be healthy and to avoid being overweight, you know you need to think proactively to stay that way when the winter season's festivities come around. The wise holiday merrymaker must not lose sight of the need to keep from falling into a potentially dangerous health situation, and there are several pointers that can help people enjoy the holidays without regrets after the last present has been opened and the last box stored for next year's festivities.

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Ways and Tips to Enjoy the Holiday Without Guilt

  1. 1
    Condition yourself to stick to healthy eating.
    Give yourself a pep talk daily and tell yourself that you can do it.
    1. Tell yourself with conviction that you will not forget to eat and drink moderately, to control your food portions so that you don't overeat, and to choose the better, healthier foods all the time.
    2. Make it a habit to ask yourself every time you want to reach for a piece of cake if you really need to eat, or if it is just a craving, and especially if it's not even coffee time.
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  2. 2
    Keep a daily food diary.
    For some reason, keeping a daily food diary has helped many people regulate food intake and keep it within reasonable limits. Squarely facing what you have eaten during the day will help you develop a consistent watchfulness over what you are eating. Your daily food diary should indicate what time you ate and what you ate. Keep an accurate record of the quantity of the food you eat.
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  3. 3
    Make satisfactory alternatives available.
    Many people deprive themselves of a lot of food items as part of their effort to "diet". Studies show that this is a self-defeating exercise which only leads people to eat more than they would if they had allowed themselves to indulge – within reason, of course. One of the ways to do this is to learn about satisfactory alternatives which can gratify your palate without making you gain a pound or store plaque in your arteries. If you like nuts or fruits then stock up on those.
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  4. 4
    Get to know the goodies that are good.
    Believe it or not, there are recipes for foods that are yummy and yet low in calories, low in fat, and low in cholesterol.  
    1. Find out what these are and where you can get them. If you cook and bake, try making them.
    2. Here are some unbelievably delicious goodies that can take the place of most desserts without expanding your waistline: Sugar free peanut butter cookies, orange dream cheesecake, lemon cheesecake and chocolate fudge pie. All of these desserts have sugar free, low fat versions - but you would never be able to tell just by tasting them.
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  5. 5
    Clear your environment of triggers.
    There are certain triggers that lead you to bad eating habits or provoke you into seeking comfort from the wrong foods. If you like to "graze", get rid of the junk foods that you usually keep around the house. If certain things push you into binges, be aware of these and look for something that will keep you from binge eating.
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  6. 6
    Don't ever go hungry.
    People who try to go on diets by starving themselves eventually eat more than they normally would. In addition to this, they usually choose high calorie foods over other types of sustenance once they decide to break their fast. The best way to keep that ravenous appetite at bay is to make sure you get lots of fiber and protein during meals. Also, eat small frequent meals so that you are never extremely hungry.
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  7. 7
    Give your brain a chance to catch up.
    It takes time (sometimes as long as 30 minutes) for the brain to register the fact that the body has eaten. This is why people who eat fast often overeat; they tend to have tucked in quite a lot of volume before their brains realize that they are full. Eat slowly and give your brain a chance to catch up. Put your fork down after every bite, talk to people in between bites, and take your time.
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  8. 8
    Allow the cravings to pass.
    Cravings for food are not the exclusive domain of pregnant women. Everyone has these cravings and most people who are overweight like to give in to them.  
    1. Cravings actually pass. If you can hang on to your sanity and let things ride or nibble on a carrot instead, you will be able to outlast the craving.
    2. Now if the craving comes in tandem with some genuine hunger, chances are your stomach will inform you of its needs even after the craving is gone.
    3. In this case, look for something healthy and low in calories to eat.
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  9. 9
    Savor the flavors fully.
    Most people eat not only because they are hungry, but also because they like the flavor and taste of food. To avoid overeating, eat slowly and savor each bite fully. Enjoy the unique flavor and the seasonings each dish possesses. Doing this will satiate your taste buds and give you the satisfaction you crave.
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  10. 10
    Plan your shopping and your meals.
    You may not be able to control what people serve during their parties, but what you have in your refrigerator and what you cook for yourself is very much up to you. Plan your meals and your food purchases for the holidays, and make sure you have healthy foods you really like available.
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  11. 11
    Budget your calories.
    If you have parties scheduled throughout the season, take note of their dates and adjust your food intake to accommodate those events, without allowing yourself to starve.  
    1. For example, if you are going to attend an office party after work, have a salad for lunch and other foods that are on the lower end of the calorie ladder.
    2. Munch on a few carrot sticks for snacks so that you will have some leeway for the party food you will be eating.
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  12. 12
    Go slow on alcohol.
    Alcohol and alcoholic drinks can be high on calories so learn to go slow on alcohol during the holidays. Make sure you drink plenty of water so that you don't try to quench your thirst with punch or eggnog, and learn to sip your drink slowly to make it last. Better still, if you must drink alcohol, choose red wine and nurse it through the night.
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  13. 13
    Make wise food choices.
    All things being equal, some foods have fewer calories than others. For example, ham has fewer calories than prime rib or turkey, and (hear ye!) candied sweet potatoes have fewer calories than green bean casserole! If you are offered pecan, apple, and pumpkin pie, the pumpkin would have the fewest, calories. Knowing which foods to choose will help a lot to prevent weight gain during the season.
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  14. 14
    Know which foods can bring up your blood cholesterol levels.
    As a whole, avoiding cheese, fried foods, duck, goose, poultry skin, and rich pastries will help keep your cholesterol levels down. Instead, load your plate with vegetables, high-fiber foods, and white poultry meat. Get your protein from beans and legumes instead of red meat, and choose the low fat goods whenever you are given a choice.
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  15. 15
    Keep yourself active.
    Holidays during winter can mean extremely busy times so you will have to work a bit harder to squeeze in some exercise. If you work out, take care not to skip sessions during this time.  
    1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, if it's warm enough, park a block away so you will need to walk, and watch TV while exercising on a stationary bike.
    2. Physical activity will help keep those dreaded pounds from settling on your body. If you engage in physical activities outdoors when the weather is warm, find an alternate activity when it's too cold to walk or jog in the park.
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Winter and its holidays can be terrible for your figure and your general state of health, but ultimately, everything is up to you. Take each day as it comes and do your best to keep fit while you enjoy the season.

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Categories : Noindexed pages | Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Lynn, Ana Balayon, Anonymous

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