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How to Enjoy at Holiday Parties Without the Guilt

This week on the Harmony with Food Radio Show, I shared my tips for navigating the holiday season and shared a bit on what you need to know about diet sodas and weight gain.

Every year, the average American gains 8 pounds during the holiday season. Then, in January, they're inundated with diet ads like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. Diets don't work, and they've never worked, but we keep dieting because the dieting industry is an $80 billion-a-year industry. This holiday season, use my tips to enjoy your parties without gaining weight or dieting.

My Top Tip for Navigating Holiday Parties

When it comes to the holidays, I want you to be able to enjoy them. When you deprive yourself, it always winds up backfiring. So, my top tip is to snack beforehand. When you go to a party hungry, you're more likely to overeat.

Have a healthy snack 1 to 2 hours before the party so that you aren't hungry, but also not overly full. I recommend something with a bit of carbs, fat, and protein, like carrots and hummus, or an apple and peanut butter. This way, when you get to the party you'll be able to make good decisions instead of making decisions that are based on hunger.

If you eat lunch, show up to the party hungry, and have a drink on an empty stomach that is going to cause your blood sugar to drop even more, you are going to wind up eating more than you wanted to and waking up with a food hangover and feeling bad. I don't want that for you!

Keep it at a 5™

My trademarked secret is to keep it at a 5 on the hunger/fullness scale. Where a 0 would be extremely hungry and a 10 would be so stuffed you feel sick. You really don't need to go past a 5 on the scale. Eat what you want until you are comfortably satisfied, and then stop. For more explanation, you can watch this video.


When you take in sugar, your pancreas secretes the hormone insulin to keep your blood sugar normal and maintain your energy levels. When you eat or drink something sweet, your pancreas is signaled to secrete insulin, whether real sugar is being consumed or not.

When you are taking in fake sugar, for example, a Diet Coke, there's no sugar or calories in the beverage, but it is up to 400 times sweeter than regular sugar. This means the pancreas secretes even more insulin, but it has nowhere to go. Insulin causes weight gain, so if you are doing this often, you're going to gain weight and not be able to get rid of it until you cut out the diet beverages. This is why I actually recommend my clients have a small regular soda instead of diet.

Episode Transcript


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