Many people experience weight gain during the holidays. With the return of colder weather, comfy sweaters and family gatherings it’s easy to pack on a few pounds. Please tell me I’m not alone here.
But you can still enjoy the holidays and avoid holiday weight gain by following these essential tips.
22 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
1. Eat a protein-rich snack before you go out.
If you arrive at a holiday party famished you’re likely to overeat. Avoid mindless snacking by choosing a healthy snack, such as the one of the following:
- Greek yogurt and berries
- a handful of healthy fat-rich nuts, such as almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts
- an apple with peanut butter, or other nut butter
- a protein shake, like My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake
- hard-boiled eggs
- string cheese
- hummus and veggies
For more healthy snack options, check out Top 20 Best Healthy Snacks.
2. Stay active.
Many families enjoy sitting around and watching parades, Christmas music specials or ballgames during the holidays.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with these traditions, all this inactivity can lead to weight gain. This is especially true if we’re also eating too much rich food (1)
Rather than lounging around all day, consider:
- taking a family walk, either outside or inside a mall
- going ice skating
- building a snowman with your kids
- going sledding
These activities will burn calories and keep you fit while giving you the opportunity to bond with loved ones.
3. Pay attention to portion sizes
With all the delicious foods prepared during the holidays, it can be tempting to overeat. But, people who eat larger portion sizes tend to gain weight more than those who don’t (2). Makes sense, right?
Read food labels to discern correct portion sizes. Use measuring cups and spoons to measure your food.
4. Get adequate sleep.
Did you know that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain and a slowed metabolism (3, 4)? When we don’t sleep enough we tend to eat more and exercise less. Our hunger hormone levels increase and this raises calorie intake.
Read 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight for helpful sleeping advice.
5. Don’t hang out near the food at a party.
If you linger by the delicious dishes and desserts, the temptation to indulge is greater. But if you step away from the food and focus more on talking to people you’ll save calories, and you just might have more fun.
This tip reminds me of the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind”. The same thought applies to your pantry at home. Throw out the junk food so it’s not there tempting you to eat it.
6. Keep stress under control.
The holidays are stressful sometimes. There are people to see, presents to buy and wrap and recipes to make. But it’s important to keep our stress levels under control.
When we are chronically stressed, our levels of cortisone go up. This can cause us to eat more and gain weight (5).
Focus on activities that reduce stress, such as exercise and deep breathing techniques. And for more about reducing stress read 5 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax.
Also, I found a great app that helps you focus on reducing stress. It’s called Calm.
7. Prepare a healthy dish to share.
Bringing a healthy dish to holiday gatherings can give you something healthy to eat even if everything else is rich or sugar-laden. This can help you keep your healthy eating goals in check.
It also gives others the opportunity to try a delicious and healthful recipe!
8. Use a smaller plate.
Using large plates often leads us to consume more calories. If not kept in check, this can lead to weight gain (6). Using a small plate helps you control portion sizes and reduce overeating.
9. Avoid processed food.
This includes most foods in packages, boxes or bags. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients. And most have added unhealthy fats, sugar and preservatives.
10. Keep a food diary.
Write down everything you eat or use an app to help you.
If you’re like me, I often underestimate how much I eat in a day. Keeping a food diary helps me stay on track with my goals and be more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth.
My favorite tracking app is MyFitnessPal. You may want to try it.
11. Weigh yourself weekly.
Okay, so there are conflicting viewpoints when it comes to weighing yourself. Some people weigh a few times a week. Some never.
It’s good to keep in mind that weight fluctuations are normal day-to-day. But, many people find it helps them stay accountable and makes them more aware of their progress if they weigh weekly (7).
12. Watch your beverage and alcohol intake.
Soda, juice, alcohol and other beverages are full of empty calories and sugar. These factors contribute to weight gain (8).
The best thing to drink? You guessed it….water! (See number 16.)
13. Take smaller bites and chew your food thoroughly.
Eliminate distractions, such as electronics, and eat mindfully, savoring each delicious bite (9).
14. Keep a consistent workout routine.
Stick to your regular fitness routine as much as possible. Consistent training produces better results. Are you lacking motivation? Reading 3 Ways To Get Motivated And Stay Motivated To Work Out can help.
And that leads me to tip, #15.
15. Stay positive even if you get off track.
Don’t beat yourself up or stress about it. Simply restart your commitment a healthy life and get back on track. Simply focus on your health and fitness goals and keep moving forward with your plan.
It might help to use Motivational Quotes And Power Phrases.
16. Drink a glass of water before meals and snacks.
Sometimes we think we’re hungry when our body simply needs water. Drinking water fills us up and helps prevent overeating (10).
Read 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water to learn more.
17. Leave a few bites of food on your plate.
Are you a member of the “clean plate club”? It’s okay to admit it, I used to think I had to clean my plate too.
Try leaving a few bites of food on your plate. You probably won’t even miss them and the calories you’ve saved add up and can help prevent weight gain.
18. Eat loads of veggies.
Filling up with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits can help prevent obesity (11). They’re filled with vital nutrients and vitamins as well as healthy fiber.
19. Lift weights.
Building muscle is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.
A great way to build muscle is by doing a kettlebell workout. You can check out 20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout to learn more.
20. Fill up on fiber.
Eating more fiber fills you up faster which can prevent you from eating as much and gaining weight (12).
Fiber-rich foods include:
- whole grains.
21. Buddy up.
Find a friend who has similar health goals and give each other accountability. Having someone to work out or swap health recipes with can help you stay on track.
22. Avoid sugar and simple carbs.
Eating too much sugar is a common cause of weight gain and obesity (13).
When you come face to face with the desserts this holiday season, focus on selecting only your favorites and leaving the rest. This will save you from sugar overload and help keep your blood sugar in a manageable range.
For more on the dangers of sugar check out 20 Reasons Why Refined Sugar Is Bad For Your Health.
What are ways you try to stay healthy during the holidays?
Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed this, you may want to read:
- 17 Ways To Lose Weight Faster
- Extreme Weight Loss And Metabolism: “The Biggest Loser”
- The Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting
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