Last Updated on January 2, 2021 by Lori Geurin
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 holiday season and avoid holiday weight gain by following a few simple tips. Keep reading to learn how to prevent weight gain.
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 more likely to overeat. Avoid mindless snacking by choosing a healthy snack, such as 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 the kids
- going sledding
These activities will burn calories and keep you fit while giving you the opportunity to bond with loved ones.
Related: Staying Fit For Summer
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).
Which kinda makes sense, right?
Read food labels to determine the right portion sizes. Also, use measuring cups and spoons to measure your food – at least until you have a good eye for what a serving size looks like.
4. Get adequate sleep.
When we don’t sleep enough we tend to eat more and exercise less. Your hunger hormone levels increase and this raises your caloric intake.
Read 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight for helpful sleeping information.
5. Don’t hang out near the food at a party.
If you linger by the savory snacks and delicious desserts, the temptation to indulge is intensified. But if you step away from the food and focus on talking to people you’ll save calories, and you just might have more fun.
This brings to mind 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’re 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 deal with 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 stripped of nutrients. And most have added unhealthy fats, sugar and preservatives.
Related: 25 Unhealthiest Foods In America
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.
11. Weigh yourself weekly.
Okay, so there are conflicting viewpoints when it comes to weighing yourself. Some people weigh every day or 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 below.)
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? Check out 3 Ways To Get Motivated And Stay Motivated To Work Out.
And that leads us 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 to a healthy life and get back on track. 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 if you are, I used to think I had to clean my plate too.
Try leaving a few bites of food on your plate for a change. 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 (maybe not Buddy the Elf – just sayin’) and keep each other accountable.
Having someone to work out or swap healthy 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).
If not, the most common cause.
When you come face to face with the desserts this holiday season, focus on choosing only your favorites and leave 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 some of the ways you stay healthy during the holidays?
Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed these tips to avoid holiday weight gain you’ll want to check out:
- 17 Ways To Lose Weight Faster
- How To Break Through Your Weight Loss Wall
- The Quick Guide To Intermittent Fasting
- Top Tips For Creating A Productive Morning Routine
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