Studies show that the average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season (webmd)(from Thanksgiving to the New Year.) That may not sound like a lot, but if you have been trying to lose weight throughout the year, gaining 2 pounds back in one month can make you feel defeated. Likewise, even if you weren’t actively trying to lose weight, gaining 2 extra pounds can still make you feel like crud.
I’m not here to tell you to NOT enjoy yourself over the holidays. I sure plan to!
I want to share with you some of my best tips to help ensure you can enjoy your holiday season without gaining weight.
- First, write down your favorite treats during this time of year. You know, those things you look forward to all year. For me, it’s Egg nog, chocolate silk pie, cookies, and peppermint bark. Write down the whole list, and then go through and pick TWO that you will not give up. (EGG NOG & peppermint bark for me!)
- Now, decide how much you’ll allow yourself of those items every week. I want you really think about this. Look at the calorie content and fat content and take it into account. Be real with yourself. This is what trips a lot of us up; we think…”oh this only comes out around the holidays, it won’t kill me to eat this every day”. And then you add that into your normal diet and you exceed your calorie needs DAILY for weeks on end. Of course we’ll gain weight! So be honest about how high calorie/fat some of these treats are and work it into your week, not into your day.
- You may want to keep a holiday journal at this point. Write down all the GREAT things that you do, the things you love, what you’re thankful for and things that make you feel happy throughout the season. And also keep a little note of how often you ate those tasty things. This is not meant as punishment, just so you can be honest with yourself. Humans tend to underestimate these instances.
- Now for the fun part, when it comes time for the big holiday dinners – Thanksgiving, Christmas, whatever you celebrate…eat the things you love then, too. But again, pick maybe one thing that you will eat and not feel guilty about. Then pile the rest of your plate with the less fattening things like veggies and protein. For me, this means I eat lots of baked ham, green beans, sweet potatoes (not casserole), and then the chocolate PIE is what I’m not giving up. So yes, I have that whole piece. And a glass of wine. Whatever.
- Finally, don’t stop your workouts. Or if you’re not already working out, now’s the time to start. Summer bodies are made in the winter, right!? Since you’re allowing yourself some extra treats weekly – and this is probably in addition to the ‘normal’ treats your already allow yourself weekly throughout the year – now is a great time to add in a few extra minutes to your workout, or some intensity, or a few more reps. If you’re a regular visitor of my blog you know I do not condone long, steady-state workouts. Now’s the time to take that to heart. Do several HIIT workouts every week. Do several strength training workouts every week. They can be 30 minutes, just be INTENSE and raise that metabolism.
My bonus advice to make it through the holidays without gaining weight is…DON’T obsess over it. Be cognizant, yes. Be aware and honest with yourself. But. Do not obsess or beat yourself up. Stress makes it harder for your body to cope and can lead to weight gain. So take a chill pill, love yourself, and if you do gain a pound or two, it’s not the end of the world, right? We’ll lose it – together – in January. (I’ll start a SIMPLE series in January for ANY of us who need to lose a few pounds then, so stay tuned!)
I hope this is helpful. Please share below if you have any of your own tips to prevent weight gain during the holidays…or if you have any thoughts about mine!
Thanks so much for being here, friends, and happy holidays to you all!