One Simple Diet Tip For The Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving from Personal Trainer & Lifestyle Coach Jennifer Ledford!

One Simple Diet Tip For The Holidays

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is a day to celebrate how grateful we are for the blessings in our lives.  One of the ways we celebrate our thanks is to enjoy a meal with family and/or friends.

For the diet industry, this season has become a time to capitalize on selling “guilt free” holiday eating tips to the public.  Talk about a total buzz kill.

First off, guilt should never be associated with food ever.  While the diet industry might mean well, research continues to prove that diets cause more harm than good, and more stress than pleasure.  So why on earth, should any of us want to go into diet mode during the holiday season?

I can give you a list of reasons why I recommend you avoid dieting during the holidays and every day of your life.  However, in an effort to keep this blog post short, (some of you may be busy and/or traveling this week), I’m offering one simple tip when it comes to the holidays and food.  Enjoy yourself. 

I’m not suggesting you completely disregard self control.  That might actually make you feel kind of yucky.  What I am suggesting is that you enjoy yourself and enter into this holiday season with a sense of peace around food.  Whether you are celebrating in a large group or spending the holidays quietly at home, allow yourself to have fun, give thanks, and taste all that the season has to offer.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

With Love,


How To Enjoy Your Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

Christmas fitness woman wearing santa hat

The holiday season is officially here!  I personally love this time of year and my desire for you is that you would enjoy everything the season has to offer without the notorious weight gain that the media and diet industry warns you about constantly.

You may have even heard or read recent media reports that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is seven to ten pounds.  Holy cow!  That number seemed high to me so I did a little digging and fortunately, it’s turning out to be a myth. The truth is the average person gains about one to two pounds during the holiday season.

With that being said, I’m guessing you’d rather not gain ANY weight this holiday season so I’ve put together a list of simple ways you can enjoy yourself without adding on the extra pounds that can come along with it.

  1. Set realistic goals.  If you are currently losing weight, congratulations!  During the holidays I recommend you give yourself a break and set a very vital yet realistic goal. Maintain your weight. If you maintain your weight, you’ll already be ahead once January rolls around.
  2. Exercise.  Now is not the time to stop exercising. As tempting as it is to skip exercise to take care of something else on your to do list, you want to burn calories so you can enjoy the special treats without the unwanted pounds.
  3. Plan ahead. Schedule all your commitments for the season on your calendar. This will help you plan your exercise time.  You may decide to exercise at home rather than drive to the gym. Try a mini-trampoline or an exercise video.  Or, take your workout outside and go for a hike or a walk.  Being outdoors is a major stress-reliever.  On days that are tightly scheduled, commit to a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise to keep your momentum and your metabolism boosted. Something is always better than nothing.
  4. Do some offline shopping. You can get in your exercise while supporting your local businesses and salespeople. Win-win.
  5. Pay attention to portion sizes. Take larger portions of the fruits and veggies and smaller than normal portions of the richer fare like scalloped potatoes, prime rib, desserts, etc. Watch the dressings on the salad — put it on yourself and be conservative. Go for the dressings that will drip to the bottom of the bowl. Consider trade-offs such as if you have a glass of champagne, you may want to have just a bite of dessert.
  6. Wear form-fitting clothes. This is a great way to keep weight from piling on. You will know if your weight is out of whack if those jeans feel a bit snug. This will help you take action before things get out of control.
  7. Lighten up traditional recipes. Got to have your pumpkin pie? That’s okay! Choose lighter recipes than the more traditional fare. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines; however, there are many recipes on the web that have been modified to reduce calories and taste delicious.
  8. Avoid showing up to a party hungry.  This is huge!  Keep fruit, nuts, energy bars, shakes, whatever is your go to snack, with you.  Or, if you’re at home, eat a small meal before you head out to the party. When you are overly hungry, you can mindlessly overeat.  The tiny quiches look way more appealing than the fruit and veggie platters when you haven’t eaten for hours. Start with a glass of water and then check out the food platters.  If you are dehydrated the body will use hunger to signal thirst.  When you are properly hydrated you will feel more satisfied and full after eating.
  9. There are only a few days that are actual holidays–eat normally the rest of the days. When you treat every day like it’s Thanksgiving Day with the excuse “it’s the holidays,” you are at risk of packing on the pounds.
  10. Use a Fitness Tracker.  Most smartphones come with health apps that allow you to track your steps.  Things like household chores and walking at the mall all count as exercise.  The more physical you get, the more calories you burn.  Keeping track of your activity levels can help motivate you to squeeze in extra steps throughout your day.

Most importantly, have fun!  Stress can contribute to weight gain so be gentle on yourself.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and super blessed holiday season!

With Love,

Have a comment or question?  Please leave it below.  I love to hear from you!

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link which means that if you click on the product link, I’ll receive a small commission. Twenty percent of all Amazon commissions will be donated to charity.  It’s a pleasure to serve you! 

Enjoy The Fourth Of July Without Worrying About The Weight Gain


Two years ago our dog (Dillon) and I marched in our local parade on the Fourth of July. It was super exciting to be part of the celebration honoring the birth of our country and the people who fought for our freedom.  Our sweet Dillon went on to be in Heaven a little over a year later.  I will always be grateful for the memory of that special Fourth of July I shared with Dillon and the rest of our town.

However,  I have a confession to make.  There’s another reason I had agreed to do it.  I wanted the exercise.  It seemed like such a great way to get my workout in for the morning and celebrate at the same time.

One of my secrets to weight management without dieting is to get exercise on days I will be indulging. I don’t use this method only on the Fourth of July — I practice this principle all summer long!

Here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy your holiday without worrying about weight gain:

1) Exercise. If you are walking in your local parade, this is a great way to get exercise. Committing to an event will help keep you on track when you might be tempted to “blow off” exercise.

You don’t have to be in a parade to get exercise on the fourth.  You and your family and/or group could walk or hike before all of the grilling starts. Try calling to set it up in advance. If it’s too tough to fit in — plan fun, active games.  You can have a blast and help prevent the mindless snacking that can occur while visiting.

2) Go Light. Having a potluck? Bring the lighter version of your traditional dish. Something as simple as substituting regular mayonnaise with the light version can cut back significantly on calories! Google is great for helping you find the lighter fare without compromising taste. Ask other friends if they want to bring light dishes as well. If appropriate, why not make “cooking light” the theme?

Choose leaner meats for the barbecue. A Kielbasa sausage has 330 calories. That doesn’t include the bun.  Substitute with a chicken sausage that has 170 calories.

3) Make calorie conscious choices.  Enjoy the spread, however limit foods like chips and dip. A couple handfuls of chips and two tablespoons of dip is usually a serving and can have 200 calories easy! Load up on fruits, veggies, and green salad. Take smaller “taste size” portions of the heavier dishes like potato salad. This allows you to keep from feeling deprived and stay on target with your weight loss/management goals.

Substitute sparkling water or plain iced tea for sweet tea, energy drinks, and soda. Wine and beer have a lot less calories than blended “umbrella” drinks. If you plan on drinking some of your calories, you may want to skip dessert or vice versa.

Make a plan before the party starts. For example if the tea is sweet, I”ll choose water.

4) It’s only one day.  You have to really pig out to gain weight in one day. However, the fourth can set the tone for the rest of the weekend and even the summer. If you overdo it, get right back on your normal eating and exercise plan the following day.  It may take some self control, but you’ll feel better in the long run.

Have a super fun and safe Fourth of July!  Go out and create amazing memories with the ones you love that you will cherish forever.

God bless you and  America!