Fight Holiday Bloat In 4 Steps With This Nutritionist-Approved Plan

by Emily Arata

It’s less than one week before Christmas, and all I can think about is my waistline.

I know, I really should be focused on donating money to the less fortunate and heading cross-country to share champagne with my family. Unfortunately, my brain doesn’t always work the way I’d like it to.

Although I don’t believe in the holiday diet, I do believe in moderation. Still, halfway through December, my waistband feels tight and my self-confidence is spiraling.

I need to get back on track, even if I’m really only getting a handful of fruits and vegetables each day.

The way I’m feeling isn’t unique, either. Registered dietician Hanna Trundle tells me the holiday season can be one filled with shame and a sense of being out of control.

"It’s a troubling time for anybody because you want to indulge, but afterwards you feel like shit,” she laughs. "And then you’re like, 'Oh, I have to do this again tomorrow.'"

With Christmas just days away and New Year’s Eve following it, it’s time to take control of our bodies.

Pull your hand out of the oversized bag of cheesy popcorn, take a deep breath and start fresh.

We’ve all made mistakes, and now we’re going to fix ‘em.

Get wise to the vicious cycle of bloat.

Alcohol, salt, no water, repeat.

The real danger of the holidays isn’t your mom’s jingle bell sweater. It’s actually the sugar and salt we’re guzzling down, Pixy Stix-style.

Pair those elements with severe dehydration, and it’s enough to make anyone puff up like Harry Potter’s Aunt Marge.

Trundle explains that at least eight cups of water a day should be a priority.

She says,

You want to get enough water in. Water’s going to help you de-bloat. The more you pee, the more you’re going to release any excess toxins from your body. And with that comes salt.

Flavored water and tea can count toward your daily total, providing an “out” for people who hate the taste of water (What are you, the aliens from “Signs"?).

Stay away from the carbonated beverages like seltzer, however, because you’ll just be ingesting more air.

Slow motion for me.

Oh, is that song not about holiday bloat? Rats.

Trundle’s pretty open about the unpleasantness that comes from eating too fast.

She says,

If you eat really quickly, you basically are eating and breathing at the same time. You’re also bringing in a lot more air, causing you to feel more bloated as well.

With that in mind, remember that food keeps coming during the holidays. There’s no need to shove it down like an extra in “Oliver Twist.”

Instead, take the time to enjoy the mashed potatoes with butter and homemade apple pie. It’s the best you’ll have all year.

Keep your drunk in check.

Something magical happens every time I head home for the holidays. The second I put my wine glass down, it’s full again.

But Trundle, like all health enthusiasts, advises moderation instead of wine-grains.

In her book, sugary drinks like margaritas and spiked eggnog are a recipe for a head in the toilet the next morning.

She says,

When it comes to alcohol don’t have eight glasses of wine. Try to go for one or two. Champagne’s a good choice, even though it’s a little carbonated.

When in doubt, aim for straight booze with a low-sugar mixture.

Always get in a big breakfast.

After a holiday party, your first instinct is to skip a meal and try to save a few calories.

But, Trundle says the smartest step is actually chowing down on something weighty.

That is, after you’ve stopped lamenting over the state of your head.

Trundle explains,

Having a really good breakfast can get you into your routine. It can help manage your sugar levels…all those hormones going on.

Balance a protein with a whole grain, and you’ll soon feel your body deflating to its normal size.