Feature Archive

Stick to Your Diet This Holiday Season

WebMD tips for dieters on most popular diet plans.

By Denise Mann
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario

For some of us, the holiday season is a time to rejoice and catch up with family, distant cousins, or old friends. But for the millions of Americans on diets, the season from November to January can be extremely stressful.

Whether you count calories, fat grams, carbs, points, or colors, holidays can be vexing to the waistline. In an effort to keep your holidays merry, WebMD got the scoop on how to stick to many of the top diets this season.

The good news is that "if you are on a particular diet, it can usually be accommodated at the holidays because there is so much to choose from," says David l Katz, MD, MPH, associate clinical professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and founder/director of the Yale Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn.

For example, "if you are on a diet that is relatively restricted in carbohydrates, chances are there will be cheese, shrimp, turkey, or other meats, and you will wind up with more things to choose from than on any other day," says Katz, author of The Way to Eat: A Six-Step Path to Lifelong Weight Control.

"Conversely," he says, "if you are on a point system which steers you to low-calorie foods, you should have lots of options including vegetables, salads, and beans," he tells WebMD.

That said, Katz is not a fan of fad diets. "If we could shift focus from being on a diet to eating well every day, it would be much easier to accept that you can indulge during the holidays and not do any harm," he says.

Katz's general advice? "Don't sit in front of food all day and don't sit all day."

Instead, combine your holiday gatherings with physical activity, whether touch football for the young and vigorous or a walk around the neighborhood for the older folks, Katz says. "There is no reason to celebrate the holidays by eating all day in anticipation of a big meal."