Family feasts, the office Christmas party, neighborhood drop-ins, tasty, edible gifts… the temptations of the holiday season are all around.

While I think it would be nice if people gave magic circles, dumbbells, and yoga mats as Secret Santa gifts, apparently not too many feel like I do. High-calorie sugary treats seem to be what the office Santa enjoys delivering.

Fortunately, you don’t have to struggle to zip up your party pants with these ten holiday stay-slim secrets.

1. Ditch the Rule Book

Don’t bog yourself down with tons of rules; you’re more likely to blow off all of them. Instead, give yourself one rule at a party, and you’re more likely to stick to it.


  • Skip dessert.
  • Skip the passed appetizers.
  • Only 1 alcoholic beverage.

2. Swig It

Hunger is often confused with thirst. If you’re not sure whether you’re actually hungry or thirsty or bored or otherwise, drink two glasses of water first.

Water helps not only with hunger but also with digestion and detoxification.

Alcohol tanks your metabolism for HOURS after drinking leads to bad choices (eating too much and otherwise) and kills your productivity (meaning you won’t work out and are more likely to sit around and eat your hangover away the next day).

While at a party, have seltzer with a twist of lemon or lime between cocktails to stay hydrated and drink less alcohol.

3. Fill Up Pre-Party

Going to a party hungry is like going to the grocery hungry — a bad idea. If you arrive to a party starving, you will reach for any and everything and a lot of it.

Load up on fiber-filled foods at home before you head out for the evening’s festivities to avoid excess calories.

4. Handle the Buffet Like a Skinny Ninny

My four ideas to avoid mindless eating:

  • Scope out the buffet table before loading up your plate.
  • Use the smallest plate and only use one.
  • Mingle as far away from the buffet table as possible.
  • Keep your hands full and your mouth talking.

5. Resist Nibbling While Cooking

When you’re cooking and prepping food for a party, it’s way too easy to grab a little taste here and there. Remember that little bites add up to big calories.

Try snacking on apple slices and sipping on water instead.

6. Pamper Rather Than Pig Out

It’s really easy to get stressed out this time of year. Rather than sitting down with a plate of Christmas cookies, wine, and the remote, make a cup of hot tea and take a bubble bath, go for a walk, or take a Pilates class.

Stress not only ups your cortisol levels — which causes your body to store fat especially around your mid-section — but it also makes you more likely to overeat and under-exercise.

7. Write a Naughty and Nice List

Keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat and at what time. In addition, write down how you felt before and after eating.

Having to write down what you’re eating makes you think twice about eating it. And keeping tabs on how you feel gives you insight into foods that may not make you feel so merry and bright, so you can avoid them in the future.

8. Work It Out

Finding time to exercise is not only good for your waist but also for your sanity.

Indulging in a Christmas movie marathon? Do one exercise movement at each commercial break. Try push ups, sit ups, burpees, jumping jacks, tricep dips, high knees, butt kickers, squats, lunges, etc.

Shopping? Park far away from the mall entrance. Take the stairs. Carry your own bags.

Wake up a little earlier. Work out during your lunch break.

Make exercise a priority and you’ll inevitably find the time for it.

9. Make a Day-After-Indulging Plan

If you overdo it, hit the reset button ASAP. No regrets, no blame, just get right back on track.

Work out, load up on nourishing foods, and drink lots of water with lemon and cucumber.

10. Enjoy the Magic

Above all else, be like a kid this holiday season, full of wonder and excitement. In a couple months — MAX — no one will remember what you gave them, but they will remember how you made them feel. Enjoy spending time with loved ones and meeting new people. Spread the true meaning of the season everywhere you go.

Lauren Paige