Packing On The Seasonal Pounds

It is not abnormal for people to gain weight during the holidays. It’s colder outside, so some people use that as an excuse to avoid exercise.

Friends and family gather for Christmas that always involves a lot of food. That food usually isn’t the healthiest either.

Holiday weight gain is such a common occurrence that entire scientific studies have been dedicated to it. In some of these studies, it has been discovered that the average American gains at least 5 pounds[1] during the holiday season.

Yes, holiday weight gain can be a big problem for people who take stock in their physique and care about their general health.

It’s not all about looks, after all. Obesity can cause major health problems, including but certainly not limited to diabetes.

These health problems are enough to ruin anyone’s Christmas. However, there are effective ways you can avoid weight gain during the holidays and remain healthy throughout the year.

However, before we get into the specific tips on how to avoid holiday weight gain, it may be helpful to understand what makes this occurrence so common for Americans.

Why Is Holiday Weight Gain Such A Common Problem?

Holiday Weight Gain Such A Common Problem
To successfully avoid holiday weight gain, you have to know what plays into it – or what factors affect our body so much during the holidays that we tend to gain a significant amount of fat. It is important to make that distinction as well: there is a difference between weight gain and fat gain.

Gaining weight isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could mean that you are tacking on muscle mass. But gaining body fat is not healthy. The problem during the holidays is that many people are on vacation and generally less active than they would be when they are working.

This alone could lead to holiday weight gain, not to mention the carb-heavy foods that we tend to eat like ham, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, and all kinds of holiday sweets. Another factor is alcohol consumption which can lower inhibition and cause overeating[2].

For many, the holidays mean special events and family and friends coming over to visit. It can also mean traveling.

No matter the case, another thing that affects holiday weight gain is a disruption of your normal routine that may include exercising and working out. The holidays can also be very stressful for some people, and stress often leads to overeating[3].

Keeping Up With Your Diet During The Holidays

Of course, one of the best ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays is to keep up with your diet.

This can be hard when you are faced with tables full of holiday food at Christmas parties and events. Still, there are some simple ways to maintain your diet during the holidays.

Many people think starving themselves before a Christmas feast is the smart way to go. However, this can easily lead to overeating of unhealthy holiday foods.

To avoid holiday weight gain and maintain your diet, try snacking on fruits and vegetables before going out so you won’t feel so hungry when there are high-carb foods around.

You may not be able to control what foods other people bring to the party, but you can, at least, make sure there are some healthy options by bringing a vegetable or fruit dish.

And remember that you don’t have to attend every function you are invited to. One of the best ways to keep up with your diet and avoid weight gain during the holidays is to remove the temptation to overeat altogether.

Tips For Avoiding Weight Gain During The Holidays

Tips for avoiding weight gain in holidays
Now that you know why holiday overeating can be such a problem and some ways to maintain your diet, let’s take a look at 15 helpful tips to avoid weight gain during the holidays:

1. Step on the Scale

One of the simplest ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays is to be aware of your weight. Weigh yourself at the start of the season when you are at a healthy and desirable weight. Be aware of this number throughout the season.

2. Snack Healthy

Again, be sure that there are healthy snack options always available at home at parties.

3. Limit Stress

The holidays can be a stressful time for many people so one good way to maintain weight on holidays is to limit stress. Keep up with your yoga routine, practice breathing exercises, and don’t be afraid to decline invitations to holiday events that may make you uncomfortable.

4. Control Portions

Another good way to maintain weight on holidays is to control your portions. Just try eating a little bit of everything and not overloading your plate.

5. Emphasize Fiber

Fibrous foods can help you feel fuller throughout the day, so try to focus on foods like legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables to help maintain weight on holidays.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can increase stress and the likelihood that you will feel the need to overeat. Do your best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule even while traveling to maintain weight on holidays.

7. Eat Plenty of Vegetables

Fruit and veggie platters aren’t uncommon at holiday events, so load up on these healthy foods before the main course to maintain weight on holidays.

8. Stay Away from Processed Foods

Just like any other time of the year, processed foods are still bad for you during the holidays. For healthy holidays and even weight loss after the holidays, it’s a good idea to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

9. Don’t Drink Too Much

As we mentioned earlier, overindulging in alcohol is a major contributor to holiday overeating. Instead of drinking during the holidays, try a workout routine during the holidays. It will probably be enough to make you too tired to drink!

Don't Overdo it on Desserts

10. Don’t Overdo it on Desserts

Weight loss during the holidays and weight loss after the holidays is all about moderation and self-control. Don’t fill your plate with every dessert dish that’s available. Try just having one or having just a bite of multiple desserts.

11. Change Up the Recipe

You can change certain recipes like using applesauce instead of butter for baked goods and baking instead of frying certain foods as a solid way to help with weight loss after the holidays and during!

12. Keep Weighing Yourself

Weight loss after the holidays will be a lot easier if you keep an eye on your weight and don’t let it get out of control.

13. Keep Exercising

You won’t have to worry about weight loss after the holidays if you stay active during the holidays. Engage in family activities like hiking, walking, sledding, and sports to keep yourself active.

14. Limit Sugar Intake

A holiday workout is great, but even better would be avoiding sugar as much as possible. Sugary drinks can be easily avoided by simply choosing water. You can also fill up on healthy foods so you have less room for sugary desserts.

15. Keep Moving

It can be very easy to become sedentary during the holidays. However, having a good holiday workout routine is a great way to stave off holiday malaise and weight gain. Even going for a short, brisk walk after your meal may be enough to keep the pounds off.

Holiday FAQs

Being aware of your weight by weighing yourself regularly, adopting a holiday workout routine, and controlling your food portions are fundamental for maintaining a healthy weight.

You can prevent gaining extra pounds by staying active and making healthier food choices over the holidays.

Staying active is crucial to avoid holiday weight gain. That’s why maintaining a holiday workout routine can be so effective for avoiding unwanted weight gain.

Closing Thoughts

With a little bit of self-discipline and proactivity, you can make sure that you stay healthy and fit during the holidays. It helps to set a goal for yourself too.

Try coming up with a reasonable goal weight that you aspire to stick to during the holidays. It can give you a little wiggle room, but it should also still be within the healthy range for your height, age, and body composition.

Maintaining a healthy weight will make the holidays more enjoyable for you and make you feel good about yourself in the new year.