Portion Control at Family Gatherings

Picture yourself at the Holiday family gathering. You are so proud of yourself as you’ve managed to stay away from the wonderful assortment of appetizers and those creamy mash potatoes smothered in rich gravy. Woman w pieBut then Aunt Nellie appears with her famous apple pie. You love her apple pie! So you have a bite to avoid offending her, and next thing you know, you’re back for seconds!

The holidays make it especially hard to deal with food distractions. There are so many triggers that can cause us to overeat or make unhealthy food choices. That’s why it’s important to understand your eating triggers and learn strategies to deal with them.

Here are a few common triggers and how to overcome them.


Family pressure: Many times you feel forced to eat foods because people keep putting it in front of you.

Why you cave: You don’t want to offend. Every family has “food pushers” who are hard to turn down, even for the most disciplined of us.

Solution: Learn to say no politely, such as “No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious”, or “I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful”.

If that’s not possible, get creative. Tell her, ‘I love your pie so much. I’m going to take some home with me.’ Then you have the option of throwing it away, giving it away, or dividing it into smaller portions and freeze to savor each separately later.


Social snacking: At a party, you make multiple trips to the cheese & cracker tray and the dessert tray and drink too much wine – like everyone else there.

people around apeitizersWhy you cave: It’s the mirroring effect, “We tend to see what others around us are eating and do what they’re doing.”

Solution: Sit down, away from all the goodies. When you move around at parties you tend to graze more and lose track of what you’re eating.

Another tactic: Eat a healthy meal or snack with Protein in it before you go to the party so you’re less inclined to overindulge, and drink 2 glasses of water before having each alcoholic or high calorie beverage.


Cleaning your plate: Why you cave: If I want dessert, Mamma says I have to eat everything on my plate.

Solution: Remember YOU are now in charge of YOU and YOUR BODY. You get to decide what you are and what you are not going to eat!


What to do Before, During & After the Gathering

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast if your Thanksgiving meal will be at lunch. Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch if you’re meeting for supper. Portion control will be easier this way.
  2. Drink your water. Recent studies found that when people drink glass of watermore water throughout the day; they end up eating fewer total calories. Water and water-rich foods can help you feel full longer.  Keep a cup of water in hand at parties, sip water between bites, and meet your daily quota to help prevent overeating.
  3. Work out before the big meal. If your health club is closed, why not take the dog for a brisk walk? Even vacuuming the floors or shoveling snow can get your heart rate up. Working out up to 90 minutes before the meal will help keep your metabolism raised for at least four hours and your body will be able to process the meal more efficiently.
  4. BEFORE you arrive have a glass of water, a protein rich snack and/or take a ThermoBond tablet. (They help lower fat absorption. Get them HERE)
  5. When you get to the gathering. Be social! Greet everyone BEFORE you have any food or drink. And don’t stand around the food table. Focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of focusing on the food. Remember conversation is calorie-free.
  6. Be wise when choosing appetizers. A small portion of some appetizers may help you from overeating at dinner. Pick up a small plate, and stick with vegetables, but limit or avoid the creamy dips. Restrict your intake of butter crackers, chips, cheese and meats. If you must have a deep-fried appetizer, eat only one small serving. Never go back for seconds for appetizers.
  7. Filling your Plate. Put the turkey or meat (size of deck of cards) in center of the plate with a little potatoes & gravy on Plate-of-foodtop. Add a SMALL spoon of everything else around the edge. This keeps everyone happy that you took their special dish. If you don’t care for something, don’t eat it. PLAY with it. Only get another spoon of what you REALLY like BEST. YES, you should have food left on your plate. After all, you need to save room for a SMALL piece of dessert!
  8. Slow down. Savor your food and the experience of eating. You’ll eat less, feel more satisfied, and recognize feelings of hunger before it’s too late.
  9. The Day After.  Drink plenty of water (1/2 your body weight in ounces of water)
  10. Next 3 Days eat less especially sugary & fatty foods

No moderation + No planning = Weight Gain

Set your goals, make a plan, and write everything down. If you want to maintain your weight, then identify the events that you might be at risk for this holiday season.  If you have a gathering to attend, write down your strategies (see the above list). Review your strategies each day so you will know what to do when a temptation appears!

Many blessings on you as you celebrate this wonderful time of year,


Anyone willing to make a comment about a major reason why you might find it difficult to manage your weight during holidays?

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