By Chelsea Peng published
While button fly more impenetrable than Helm's Deep can help you make smart choices this holiday season—namely, turning down Banoffee Pie Slice #3—mere rivets are no fail-safe against the temptation of glucose. Nor can they change the fact that you are, right now, the lightest you will be all year, according to this rude study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In their conclusion, the authors basically go "practice self-control, but you'll need more than a stomach flu to get back to your goal weight, suckers" (again, rude), which leaves us thoroughly in the lurch. But never fear—we've brought in five experts to advise on weight maintenance during the time of culturally sanctioned gluttony.
Keri Glassman, founder of Nutritious Life and The Nutrition School
"I am not surprised by this study at all. People gain weight during the holidays, then lose most of it after the new year, the key word here being 'most.' If we do this over and over, year after year, even if we don't gain at any other time of the year, the pounds add up—even if they add up slowly. You can see how 10 pounds in a decade can easily happen!
To avoid the holiday weight gain, stick with someone who will encourage your healthy habits or someone who also wants to avoid the holiday weight gain. Don't skip meals. This will lead to feelings of deprivation and can trigger you to over eat later. And position yourself away from the food when out at a holiday party. Out of sight, out of your mouth—you're less likely to eat when you're not standing right next to the food."
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM, FAND
"Consume a high fiber diet or consider a supplement like Sunfiber or Regular Girl before attending your holiday celebration. This helps with satiety, the feeling of fullness, so you don't overeat. And get adequate sleep—we need at least 7 hours for our bodies to repair, recharge, and renew.
Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D., psychology professor, brain and cognitive scientist
"What this study doesn't mention is that self-control, or more precisely, willpower, isn't a dimension of personality, or character. It's simply a cognitive function available to all of us in limited doses. Diets that are successful should expect that willpower will be easily depleted over the holidays—the key to this is planning ahead.
First, understand that the part of your brain trying to get you through the mall without ordering a Cinnabon is also the same one keeping you from losing your patience with your children while you do it, which means you can only accomplish one or the other. So instead of going into holiday situations that present the double whammy of being stressful *and* having food on offer, decide ahead of time exactly what you will and won't put in your mouth. Then you can just fall back on your prior commitment and keep the chattering part of your brain quiet.
And there are some key things you can do to replenish willpower: sleep, keeping a gratitude journal, prayer—these all help your willpower battery lasting longer than 15 minutes. Gratitude is a great one this time of year, because it shifts your brain's focus from what it wants to what it has."
Monica Amsterdam, Director of Nutrition at the Medical and Wellness Center of New Jersey
"My top advice: Going to a get-together famished is a major mistake, so 30 to 60 minutes before you go, have a healthy smoothie with protein and a little fat. A tablespoon of nut or seed butter, or an apple with ½ tbsp. of nut or seed butter works great. Don't tell people you're watching your diet. And don't bring leftovers home."
Keri Gans, RDN and author of The Small Change Diet
"Treat the holidays just like you would any other time of the year. If you overindulge, get back on track immediately. Make sure you make time for your workouts, even if that means getting up in the morning extra early. And if your social calendar is full, pick and choose what meals you let go at and which ones you are extremely strict with yourself. Gaining weight is not an option."
I'm Chelsea Peng, the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. On my tombstone, I would like a GIF of me that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, I'm into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard I have to go lie down.
The Queen Will Spend Her Reign's 70th Anniversary at a Sandringham Cottage for This Heartbreaking Reason
It’s a tribute to both her late father and her late husband.
By Marie Claire Editors
Prince William Is No Longer “Reluctant” to Become King, Says Expert
The idea of taking the throne used to weigh on him, but he’s “accepted” his role now.
By Marie Claire Editors
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding Day Chemistry Gave “Goosebumps” to a Reporter Covering It
"It's really clear they were deeply in love with each other."
By Marie Claire Editors
Senator Klobuchar: "Early Detection Saves Lives. It Saved Mine"
Senator and breast cancer survivor Amy Klobuchar is encouraging women not to put off preventative care any longer.
By Senator Amy Klobuchar
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
I'm plus size, but after I decided to pose nude for photos, I suddenly felt more body positive.
By Kelly Burch
I'm an Egg Donor. Why Was It So Difficult for Me to Tell People That?
Much like abortion, surrogacy, and IVF, becoming an egg donor was a reproductive choice that felt unfit for society’s standards of womanhood.
By Lauryn Chamberlain
The 20 Best Probiotics to Keep Your Gut in Check
Gut health = wealth.
By Julia Marzovilla
Simone Biles Is Out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Olympics
She withdrew from the event due to a medical issue, according to USA Gymnastics.
By Rachel Epstein
The Truth About Thigh Gaps
We're going to need you to stop right there.
By Kenny Thapoung
3 Women On What It’s Like Living With An “Invisible” Condition
Despite having no outward signs, they can be brutal on the body and the mind. Here’s how each woman deals with having illnesses others often don’t understand.
By Emily Shiffer
The High Price of Living With Chronic Pain
Three women open up about how their conditions impact their bodies—and their wallets.
By Alice Oglethorpe