14 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain This Season
Don’t let the holiday season derail your fitness goals. Check out these 14 tips to help you enjoy the festivities without worrying about packing on the pounds!
Managing your weight and sticking to an exercise program can easily slip down your priority wish list during the holiday season.
Purchasing gifts, trimming the tree, sampling holiday treats and finding the perfect fuzzy sweater are way more fun this time of year than remembering to avoid holiday weight gain!
There are lots of factors that come into play when dealing with weight gain. Even hormones can have a surprising impact. But, by taking control of your holiday eating and fitting in a little extra movement when you can, you are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and keep those extra pounds away.
These amazing 14 tips and strategies are some of the best ways to have a blast this holiday season while still managing to keep that holiday weight gain at bay.
Table of contents
Common Causes of Holiday Weight GainOvereatingDrinking Too Much AlcoholStress EatingInactivityCan You Avoid Holiday Weight Gain?Average Weight Gain During The Holidays14 Best Tips For Avoiding Holiday Weight GainGet Moving And Stick to Your Exercise RoutineStick To A Five-A-Day PlanWatch What You Drink (Liquid Calories)Allow For Indulgences And Enjoy DessertControl Your Temptation TriggersNever Go To A Party HungryExercise In BurstsJust Say NoFocus On The People, Not The FoodControl Your Portion SizesEat Healthy Appetizers and SnacksChoose Plant-Based SidesAvoid Buffet-Style MealsGet Enough Rest and Hydration
Common Causes of Holiday Weight Gain
The holiday season is a time for gatherings with family and friends, and often, these gatherings involve food. It’s no wonder then that many people struggle to avoid holiday weight gain.
Here are four common causes of extra weight gain around the holidays and how you can avoid them:
Overeating is probably the most common cause of holiday weight gain near the end of the year. When we’re surrounded by delicious food, it’s hard not to overindulge.
To avoid overeating, don’t go to parties with an empty stomach. Try to eat a little something before you go to holiday parties or events.
This way, you’ll be less likely to over fill up on party food.
And when you’re at a party, make sure to eat slowly, keep portion size appropriate, and stop when you’re full.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Drinking alcohol can also lead to weight gain. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories, and they can also reduce our inhibitions, which can lead to overeating. After a few cocktails your self discipline goes out the door.
If you’re trying to avoid holiday weight gain, limit your alcohol intake. Stick to one or two drinks, and make sure to alternate alcohol with water.
The holidays can be a stressful time for some people. And when we’re stressed, we may turn to food for comfort and it can lead to weight gain.
To avoid stress eating in the first place, try to find other ways to cope with holiday stress. Even things like taking a walk, meditation, deep breathing exercises or talking to a friend.
The holidays can also be a time when we’re less active. We may not have time for our usual exercise routine, or we may be tempted to lounge around and relax more than usual.
Less calories burned and more calories consumed will lead to weight gain.
To avoid gaining weight from inactivity, make sure to find time for some physical activity, even if it’s just a short walk around the block. You don’t need a personal trainer to stay active!
The holidays don’t have to be a time when we gain weight. By being aware of the common causes of holiday weight gain and taking steps to avoid them, we can enjoy the holidays without worrying about our waistline.
Can You Avoid Holiday Weight Gain?
The holidays are a time for families to get together, share meals, and exchange gifts. It’s also a time when many people see their weight go up.
One study analyzed two groups of adults. They used a control group, and an intervention group. The intervention group was given specific tools to help them manage weight loss during the holidays, while the control group was just given information on healthy living.
The intervention group ended up losing an average of 0.3 lbs, while the control group gained 0.8 lbs on average. So, it is possible to not only avoid holiday weight gain, but actually lose too!
The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to avoid holiday weight gain. Keep reading to see my favorite tips.
Average Weight Gain During The Holidays
The holidays are a time for family, friends, and of course, food! It’s no surprise that the average American gains weight during this time of year. But how much weight is too much? And how can you avoid putting on those extra pounds?
The average American gains about 1-2 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
The good news is that isn’t probably as much as you thought. Don’t throw in the towel thinking “oh well, I’m going to gain 10 pounds so I’m just going to eat anything I want.” Realize that you have some control and if you are a little disciplined and smart about choices, you can avoid feeling like you came out of the holidays with a bigger belly.
I recommend using the following tips to enjoy the holidays without letting them sabotage your health!
14 Best Tips For Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Holiday weight gain is common, but it’s not impossible to avoid. Yes, you can still enjoy the holiday season. It’s totally possible to modify your behaviors and movement to make the most of the season, while still maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are my favorite 14 tips to avoid holiday weight gain:
Get Moving And Stick to Your Exercise Routine
Food and extra calories aren’t always the enemy; lack of activity is. Remember that it’s about calories in vs. calories out. It’s about your healthy lifestyle as a whole.
Hop on the treadmill or walking pad during your favorite holiday TV shows! Park farther away at the mall and take the stairs with your packages.
Better yet, get your workout done in the morning instead of being derailed by evening holiday hoopla.
Holiday events are a time for family, friends, and of course, food. It’s easy to let your workout routine slide during this festive season, but if you want to avoid packing on the pounds, you need to stick to at least an abbreviated exercise routine.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:
Set a Schedule and Stick To It
It’s easy to let your workout routine fall by the wayside when you have a million other things going on. But if you want to stay on track, you need to set a schedule and stick to it.
Block out time in your calendar for your workouts and make sure you honor that commitment. Don’t expect yourself to exercise seven days a week. Maybe schedule in four-five days as a goal you can meet.
Find a Workout Buddy
A workout buddy can help you stay accountable and motivated. Find a friend or family member who is also trying to stay fit and committed to working out, and set up times to sweat it out together.
Get Creative with Your Workouts
Just because you can’t make it to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout in. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can do at home, or you can go for a run or family walk outside. Get creative and find ways to stay active that work for you.
Here are some fun ideas for getting creative with your workouts:
Choose a cozy cardio option that’s more approachable than an intense workout
Try something different, like weighted hula hooping!
Add some relaxing yoga poses to your daily routine
Sticking to your exercise routine during the holidays can be tough, but it’s not impossible. By following these tips, you can stay on track and avoid packing on the pounds this holiday season.
Stick To A Five-A-Day Plan
Really stick to consuming your five fruits and vegetables each day. Keeping nourished with healthy food helps you avoid those excess sugar highs and energy lows that can make you tired and depressed.
I recommend adding extra focus to anti-inflammatory foods to boost your health during the holiday season.
Holiday cookies aren’t the enemy, but the more fruits and veggies you eat, the less of the cookies you’ll eat!
Watch What You Drink (Liquid Calories)
Holidays are notorious for tempting us with drinks we wouldn’t normally consume. Think about your favorite holiday beverages…
Alcohol offers no nutrients, just empty calories.
Eggnog coffee drinks with whip cream, hot toddies, and spiced rum can have as many calories as a personal pan pizza!
While eggnog and other festive beverages can be tempting, it’s important to remember that they are often loaded with sugar and calories. So instead of reaching for that second helping, try opting for a healthier alternative like sparkling water or unsweetened tea.
The holiday season is a time to enjoy friends, family, and all of the delicious food that comes along with it. But it’s also a time when we can easily overindulge and pack on a few extra pounds. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of what we drink as well as what we eat during the winter holidays.
And while holiday parties are a great time to let loose and have fun, it’s also important to be mindful of how much alcohol we consume. Too much alcohol can quickly add empty calories to our diet and lead to weight gain.
So enjoy yourself in moderation and be sure to drink plenty of water in between alcoholic beverages.
With a little bit of planning and mindfulness, we can all enjoy the winter holidays without jeopardizing our health or our waistlines.
Allow For Indulgences And Enjoy Dessert
The holidays are a time for friends, family, and of course, food. But if you’re watching your weight, it can be hard to enjoy the winter holiday season without feeling guilty.
Here are a few tips to help you enjoy dessert without worrying about typical holiday weight gain:
Don’t Deprive Yourself
If you want a slice of pie, have a slice of pie. One indulgent meal isn’t going to be the end of you. And, depriving yourself will only make you crave it more.
Plus, a little indulgence here and there is actually good for you. It helps to keep you from feeling deprived and ultimately binging later on.
Balance It Out
If you know you’re going to indulge in a delicious holiday dinner or treat, try to balance it out with mindful eating earlier in the day. Eat a light breakfast and lunch, and make sure to get in some veggies and lean protein.
That way, you’ll have some room in your diet for a main meal and dessert without blowing your entire daily calorie intake.
Make Smart Choices
When it comes to dessert, not all choices are created equal. A slice of pumpkin pie is often lower calorie than a decadent cheesecake or ooey gooey loaded brownie.
If you’re trying to be mindful of your calories, choose desserts that are lower in sugar and fat.
Opt for fruit-based pies or tarts, angel food cake, fresh fruit, or even a simple cup of coffee with a little bit of whipped cream.
Enjoy In Moderation
Moderation is key when it comes to dessert. And that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself altogether. Just be mindful of how much you’re eating and try to stick to one serving.
When it comes to holiday parties, don’t feel like you have to eat dessert just because it’s there. A few bites will satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it.
The holidays are a time for enjoying all the things we love, including delicious food. By following these tips, you can indulge in dessert without worry and still stay on track with your healthy weight goals.
Control Your Temptation Triggers
Avoid constantly putting yourself in tempting situations.
For example, walking through the break room at work 10 times a day when you know it’s filled with treats and candies isn’t going to end well!
Don’t place treats on your kitchen counter to stare you in the face. Know yourself and your weaknesses so you can easily avoid them. By creating a more successful environment, you’ll get a more successful you!
Never Go To A Party Hungry
One of the worst things you can do is starve yourself before a holiday party. The hungrier you are, the less capable you are of staying in control.
And avoid the “grazing” mentality at those parties. Take a plate and fill it once with your selections. Enjoy them, and move on!
Exercise In Bursts
We’re forced to increase our time management skills over the holiday season. Normal routines are often sabotaged during this time of year.
Workouts don’t need to be long to be effective. For example, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that blends bursts of intense activity with quick periods of rest, and it’s known for burning more calories than traditional exercise!
Use short bursts of free time to fit in exercise where you can. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to find time for a 30 or 40 minute workout. Realize that even 10 minutes can make a difference.
Try out any of our free 10-minute workouts to just move your body.
Step away from the living room, and invite family and friends to get active. Water retention and holiday meals can be a problem for many people, but by being active and having fun, you can stay healthy and avoid those problems.
There are many ways to be active and have fun during the holidays:
Go for a walk or run with your family or friends
Play tag or Frisbee in the park
Go sledding or ice skating
Dance around your living room
Choose gifts that encourage venturing outdoors
Power walk around the neighborhood to check out holiday lights
Use your Wii-Fit or Xbox to get a family competition going with a game of bowling or tennis
Whatever you do, make sure you move your body and have a good time. By following these simple tips, you can have a healthy and happy holiday season. So get out there and have some fun!
Just Say No
Many times we eat foods just to please the hostess or cook. Politely say “No thank you. Everything looks delicious, but I think I’ve reached my limit!”
Also, say no to foods that you know cause bloating for yourself – many people prefer to avoid gluten or dairy due to the way it interacts with their body.
Take care of your own health needs before worrying about hurt feelings!
Focus On The People, Not The Food
I love to go to parties to socialize, not just to eat. Use your energy to make great conversation, share stories, and visit. All of those things are calorie free.
Enjoy the holidays and all the special people you get to see, without making everything about food and treats.
Control Your Portion Sizes
The holidays are a time for family, friends, and food. While holiday meals are often times larger than our regular meals, that doesn’t mean we have to eat everything on our plate.
One way to help control our portion sizes is by using a smaller plate. This will help to trick our mind into thinking we are eating more than we really are.
Another way to control our portion sizes is by being mindful of what we are eating. When we are at a holiday party, we may be tempted to try a little bit of everything. But, if we are really paying attention to what we are eating, we may find that we don’t really want or need to eat everything.
And finally, we can control our portion sizes by being mindful of our hunger levels. If we are truly hungry, we will eat what we need. If we aren’t that hungry, we can take smaller portions.
So, this holiday season, let’s be mindful of our portion sizes. By doing so, we can enjoy the holiday food without over indulging.
Eat Healthy Appetizers and Snacks
The holiday season is upon us and that means lots of parties and gatherings! It can be tempting to indulge in all the delicious holiday foods, but if you’re watching your weight, it’s important to choose wisely.
Fill up on these healthy appetizers and snacks instead of the calorie-laden alternatives and you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds.
Before you reach for that unhealthy appetizer or snack, think twice and choose one of these healthier alternatives instead. Your waistline will thank you!
Choose Plant-Based Sides
When it comes to holiday meals, we often think of all the traditional dishes that are loaded with calories, fat, and cholesterol. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
There are plenty of plant-based sides that are just as delicious and satisfying as the typical holiday fare, but without all the unhealthy ingredients. Try to avoid all the deep fried and heavy sauces.
Here are some of my favorites:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
These little green gems are packed with antioxidants and fiber, and when roasted, they develop a delicious crispy exterior. Serve roasted brussels sprouts as is, or with a little balsamic vinegar for extra flavor.
A great low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower is just as creamy and flavorful. You can even add in some shredded cheese, green onions, or other herbs to give it a boost of flavor.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
A holiday classic that is naturally sweet and satisfying, roasted sweet potatoes are always a hit. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Serve them roasted, mashed, or in a casserole.
A simple but tasty option, roasted green beans go well with just about anything. Green beans are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Serve them steamed, roasted, or in a salad.
A tart and tangy addition to any holiday meal. Cranberry sauce is also a good source of antioxidants and can be made with just a few simple ingredients. Serve it over turkey, ham, or use it as a condiment for other side dishes.
Avoid Buffet-Style Meals
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to avoid buffet-style meals. These meals can often lead to overeating, as you may be tempted to sample a little bit of everything. Buffet-style meals can also be high in calories, fat, and sugar.
Instead of going to a buffet, try to stick to meals that are portion-controlled. This way, you’ll be less likely to overeat.
You can also try to find buffets that offer healthier options, such as salads and lean protein.
If you do end up at a buffet, try to fill up on healthy options first. This way, you’ll be less likely to indulge in the less healthy choices. And, be sure to keep your portion sizes in check. Overeating can easily sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Get Enough Rest and Hydration
The holidays are a time for fun and relaxation, but they can also be a time when we let our healthy habits slide. Between all the parties, cooking, and shopping, it can be tough to find time for rest and hydration.
Prioritize getting better sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to crave unhealthy foods. You’re also more likely to overeat when you’re tired. So, make sure you get enough sleep during the holidays.
Make sure you also stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help you stay fuller longer and therefore less likely to overeat. It will also help keep your metabolism going strong. So drink up!
Following these simple tips can help you avoid holiday weight gain and enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season! Which ones are you going to try first?