Curious about how to stay on track with your diet through the holidays? I got you covered! Today I’m sharing some tips to avoid holiday weight gain this year.
It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting cooler, the decorations are coming out, and grandparents start asking about Christmas lists for the kiddos.
It’s also the time of year that a lot of us start indulging in our favorite treats. Between a back-to-back season of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, it’s not a surprise that most of us tend to gain a little weight around the holidays.
Some of us tend to gain a lot of weight around the holidays…🤦 I’m not here to judge! I have been there and done that.
However, I have also experienced what it’s like to enjoy the holiday season without gaining extra weight. Weight that you then have to spend all of January, February, and March trying to work back off.
It’s a lot easier to maintain your weight than it is to lose it. So today I am going to share with you some of my tried and true tips to avoid holiday weight gain.
These tips will help you enjoy the holiday season (including still getting to eat some of your favorite foods!) without adding to your waistline.
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7 Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain This Year
Take note of any holiday events you will be attending
One of the first and easiest things to do to avoid holiday weight gain is to write down all the holiday events you know you will be attending this year.
You can sit down with a calendar and just mark all the days you have an event coming up. Write down all of the work parties, family events, cookie swaps, etc.
This will give you an accurate idea of how many times you will be faced with the temptation of all those holiday goodies. This helps in 2 ways.
First, it helps you know how many days you actually will be eating unhealthy. Very often we get this idea that during the holiday we have to eat unhealthy because there is so much food around.
When you write it out you realize that it’s not 90 days of nonstop indulgence foods. It’s maybe more like 8-10 days where you will be overly tempted. That leaves about 80 more days that you can make normal, healthy eating choices.
The second way that writing down your events helps you avoid holiday weight gain is because it takes away a lot of those feelings of deprivation. It’s easier to pass on the Christmas tree-shaped Reese’s at the store when you know you will be attending an event that weekend where there are bound to be plenty of holiday goodies you can eat instead.
Getting a realistic idea about your holiday events ahead of time sets you up to make healthier eating choices throughout the rest of the holiday season.
Plan out your treats ahead of time
My second tip to avoid holiday weight gain is to plan your treats ahead of time. Like I mentioned before, this helps a lot when it comes to dealing with feelings of restriction.
If you’re anything like me, as soon as I tell myself I can’t have something, my desire for it just increases tenfold. So instead of saying “I can’t have this,” I tell myself “If I really want to eat it, I will plan this for later.”
This helps me avoid mindless snacking or overeating. Which in turn helps me balance out my indulgences with more healthy meals throughout the week and keeps my treats in moderation.
If you know that Thanksgiving isn’t complete without some pumpkin pie and apple pie (because it isn’t! 😂), then plan ahead of time that you are going to eat it and how much.
That way you get the experience and joy of the food without going overboard.
Eat healthy meals when you can
Next on my list of tips to avoid holiday weight gain is to eat healthy meals when you can. This goes right along with the first 2 tips that I shared with you.
The holidays don’t need to be nonstop sweets and treats. Out of 3 meals and a snack each day, you have ample opportunity to fit in a lot of healthy meals around your holiday sweets.
If you know that you’re having a holiday work party that night, try to make healthy choices for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If you usually like to have a special Christmas breakfast and dinner, try to pick something light for your lunch.
After you have done the tip I mentioned first of writing down all of your holiday events, take a look at all the days that you don’t have anything planned. Those are all of the days that you can plan healthy meals for yourself to help balance out the treats.
Pick the foods that are worth the indulgence
My next tip to help you dodge that holiday weight gain is to pick the foods that are actually worth the indulgence. There are lots of treats that come out this time of year.
But odds are pretty good that they aren’t all your favorite. There are some you love, some you like, and probably some that you really wouldn’t miss if you didn’t eat them.
But so often, we just find ourselves eating all the treats we come across just because they are there. Instead, try to stick with the foods that are really worth it.
Only eat the ones that really taste good and actually help you enjoy the holiday season. You can just pass on the rest.
Don’t eat unless physically hungry
My next tip to avoid holiday weight gain is to eat only when physically hungry. This means trying to avoid the “emotional eating,” “bored eating,” “just because eating,” and “why not?! eating.”
If we aren’t careful, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of overeating. Especially this type of year. But eating for reasons other than physical hunger is one of the bigger factors that contribute to holiday weight gain.
Instead, try to wait for physical hunger before you eat. Here are some signs of physical hunger to look out for:
- Stomach growling
- It’s been 3-4 hours since your last meal
- An empty feeling in your stomach
- You don’t have a specific craving for junk food
- You’re willing to eat the broccoli in the fridge to satisfy your hunger
Try not to let yourself get too hungry
My next tip for avoiding holiday weight gain is to make sure you don’t let yourself get too hungry. 9 times out of 10 when I go overboard with my eating or struggle to stick to my diet it happens during one of those moments when I have let myself get too hungry.
Either I’m so hungry that I can’t even think to try and pick something healthy. Or I’m so hungry that I no longer care if I’m making a good choice. Getting something, anything, in my belly becomes my only priority.
These are also the times that I end up eating way more than I should. When we’re super hungry, it’s really easy to inhale our food so fast we don’t even realize it’s too much until we’ve stuffed ourselves.
This holiday season, try to anticipate and be aware of your regular meal times. If you find yourself getting hungry and you know you have a while to wait to eat, try to grab a healthy snack to tide you over.
This works a lot better than trying to hold out and then potentially overeating later.
Watch your mindset
My last tip for avoiding holiday weight gain is to watch your mindset. What I mean by this is to watch how you think about your food and what it means.
Do you find yourself thinking that the only way to enjoy the holidays is to eat as many holiday treats as you want? Do you feel deprived anytime you have to tell yourself no when it comes to eating something “special?”
These kinds of thoughts make it a lot harder to keep things balanced and in perspective. They also make it lot easier to justify the type of overeating that leads to holiday weight gain.
Try asking yourself some of these questions to help keep your mindset in the right place during the holiday season:
- How can I enjoy the holidays AND keep my weight in check?
- What decisions will I be proud of come January?
- What are my favorite things about the holiday season besides food?
- Which treats are actually worth indulging in?
- Would I be satisfied with a smaller portion?
Thoughts on tips to avoid holiday weight gain?
So those are my tried and true tips to avoid holiday weight gain. I used these steps last year to easily maintain my weight throughout the holidays without having to give up all of my favorite holiday treats.
And I fully intend to use them this year as well. It is definitely possible to enjoy the holidays without putting on extra weight that you then need to work off later.
If you’re looking for more 1-on-1 support and advice for losing weight and living a more healthy and fit lifestyle long-term, check out my coaching program Losing it for the Last Time. In it, I help moms create healthy habits, learn how to stay consistent with them, and lose the weight for good!
What about you? How do you avoid holiday weight gain? Tell us in the comments below or email me at Candice@littlestepsbighappy.com. Follow me on Pinterest for more weight loss tips and advice.
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I’m a busy mom of 3 turned Health and Fitness Coach and Self Defense Instructor. I help inspire other moms to reach their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. You can usually find me chasing my kiddos around, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or sneaking away to read romance novels. About Me