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Gaining holiday weight is perhaps the one and only downside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. All of that incredibly delicious and mouth-watering food comes at a price and your body ends up paying it!
How many of you just avoid the scale COMPLETELY this time of year?
Better not to know, right?
All of that incredibly delicious and mouth-watering food comes at a price and your body ends up paying it!
If you’re trying to eat healthy, the holidays can be such a drag. Even when you keep the sweets out of your own home, temptation lurks around every corner – from the free samples in Starbucks to the constant free holiday food at the office.
I know that when I was working as a CPA a couple of years ago, a bunch of our office folks would bring the holiday food in on purpose to keep it out of their own homes! Gee, thanks!
The holidays are great because they’re all about togetherness, celebrations, and having some fun. Cooking and breaking bread together is a huge part of how we share our time with family and friends, but somewhere along the line, it ends up spiraling a little out of control.
By the time Christmas comes and goes, you’re ACHING for the new year to start so you can get back on track…
Research shows that most of us gain at least a little weight during the festive winter months, but the risk of packing on the pounds increases when we are already overweight or used to be (1).
Not fair, I know, but it’s good to know your risk factor so you can take action and change it.
This year is going to be different! We’re giving you some well-tested strategies that will help you get through the season relatively unscathed.
1. Keep Track of Your Choices
One of the reasons it’s so easy to gain weight during the holidays is because there are so many tempting choices that can sabotage health goals.
We snack more and eat at unscheduled times during the holidays. Grocery stores foist their fudge and cheese samples at you, and everyone brings baked goods or candy to work and expects you to eat at least one piece.
Not only are there extra calories everywhere, but there are hidden calories in abundance. While you might be pretty sure that Aunt Sally’s apple pie has enough fat in it to give you a mild heart attack, you don’t always know what you’re getting.
One way to keep in line with your health goals is to keep track of what you’re eating and drinking. There are lots of great apps around that will help you do this.
If you commit to entering everything that you eat into a tracking app, you’ll be less likely to go hog wild on that second piece of pie your grandma is guilting you into. Tracking your food and drink intake will help you make more reasonable choices.
2. Don’t Give in to Social Pressure
Speaking of guilt…
The holidays are meant to be a time of year where you can relax, have a little fun, have a cocktail or two, and enjoy family gathering together for meals.
Unfortunately, we can get pressured in to eating more than we should, especially when we are under the influence.
We might have to go to more than one Christmas dinner in a day, then feel obligated to eat the food that’s been prepared for us, or drink the eggnog that we don’t really like.
We also might be seated with the “devil” to the left of us, egging us on to have another piece of chocolate cream pie so THEY don’t have to feel bad about having one. Studies show that when people eat in a group, they tend to match the amount of food that other people eat.
It’s okay to say, “no thank you.” Incorporate those words into your vocabulary this season. Give yourself permission to say it as often as you need to.
You have the right to stay on track with your health goals and make choices that make you feel good, right?
3. Don’t Get Hungry
Have you ever skipped a meal to save your appetite for the good stuff, then chowed down three times as much food as you normally would because you were so ravenous?
Skipping a meal so that you can eat later is never the best option.
There’s nothing wrong with saving a few calories by eating less during the day so you can have some guilt-free enjoyment later. Don’t get so hungry that you become a ferociously famished eating machine that will mow down a path to the food table, though.
Keep your hunger pangs at bay by having healthy snacks before you go, or a light meal with high protein so you’re full for a while. You won’t be so tempted to nosh on every food tray that comes your way.
4. Don’t Stress, Either
We want the holidays to be one big party, but they can be stressful, and you know how stress can interfere with staying on track with weight loss goals.
Take a moment to just breathe and relax, especially if you’re at a party or a family gathering. Do that instead of stuffing down your anger with another hors-d’oeuvre.
5. Add More Exercise to Your Day
It’s important to give yourself a little break during the holidays and occasionally overindulge. It’s human nature, and giving in to the occasional craving is better than denying yourself to the point of sabotage.
Calories are made to be burned, so if you have more than your daily intake, exercise a little more.
You don’t even have to go to the gym. You can deskercise while you’re working! Do squats, toe-tapping, or desk pushups.
You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park a little farther away and hoof it to the shops. The key is to get moving a little more than usual to shear off those extra calories.
6. Eat Slowly and Drink Lots of Water
Did you know that it takes your stomach almost 20 minutes to register that it’s full? You can cram a lot of food into your belly in that time frame.
After you’ve had a meal, wait a while before grabbing seconds. Sit back, chat a bit, drink some water, and then fill your plate again if you desperately need that extra serving of mashed potatoes.
Speaking of drinking water; drink loads of it. It will help you feel fuller. It will also help with digestion.
7. Remember Why You Have Weight Goals
Why have you committed to eating healthy? Are you trying to lose or maintain a certain weight? You have goals for a reason, but they can fall by the wayside when a big plate of brownies walks by.
Tis the season to remind yourself of why you created health goals in the first place.
You can set up an automated email or daily notification on your computer that outlines your goals and gives you encouragement to stay on track. You can also leave sticky notes around the house or your office that do the same thing.
You can even pair up with a buddy and do interventions for each other.
Stay on track this season. You are so worth it!
8. Balance Out With a Strict Diet Before and After the Holidays
The holidays SHOULD be about having fun and relaxing and if you’re in weight-loss-mode before and after the holidays, you can afford to splurge a little. The biggest problem with holiday weight is that most people bundle up and hibernate the moment it gets cold out and Starbuks releases the pumpkin-spiced lattes.
You let your diet go to hell in a handbasket and decide that come January, you’ll get strict again in the new year.
But what if there was a way to LOSE weight during the holidays AND still enjoy your favorite holiday meals?
We’re not going to lie, our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge is a little on the stricter side, but guys… You can lose up to 10 pounds in the first WEEK of this diet plan! Isn’t it worth it!?!?
But even better than the weight loss is the feedback we get from our clients about how the program has taught them how to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.
We have over 2,000 clients in our private support group going through the Challenge together, and every day they are sharing experiences, results, motivation, and lots of recipes!
Here is what one of our clients, LouLou, who has lost over 50.8 lbs with our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge, had to say in our private community group about her experience:
If you are 200+ pounds and ready to make a big and PERMANENT change in your life, this is the ONLY place you should start. The program was designed in a way that it can be completed in multiple rounds if you have more weight to lose.
The concepts that we teach will help you make the necessary changes in your diet and your lifestyle and how to keep them “beyond the diet.”
Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on how to keep holiday weight at bay or if have any questions!