Hi guys, today I wanted to talk to you about how to avoid holiday weight gain. And more importantly share some tips to avoid it! Maybe we could even do it together. Below you'll find tips and resources, including a couple affiliate links.
We all know the drill. October strikes, Halloween triggers the start of the season of sweets and treats:
The latest Pumpkin Spice or Ultimate S'mores treats make your mouth water.
Overflowing candy dishes top every desk, like landmines to dodge.
Your Facebook feed is a steady stream of Tasty and Delish Recipe videos, forcing you to wipe drool off your phone. Again.
The cookie swaps. The plate of goodies from your super sweet neighbor.
“Well don't mind if I do! It's the holidays, after all- it only comes once a year!”
Except that “once a year” holidays have turned into two or three months of occasions to splurge. And we do!
You've gotta hear the research coming out about holiday weight gain.
Studies show that in a typical year we put on more weight around the holidays than we lose all year. And that is in a TYPICAL year…. not this year.
How have the past few years treated YOUR waistline?? And now we are heading into the holidays, wanting to make them extra special to compensate for such a crazy time.
So there you have it. The research is in. (Want more details? Here's the Holiday Weight Gain article in the New England Journal of Medicine.)
People around the world gain weight during the holidays more than any other time of the year.
I guess it's not that shocking. In the U.S. we gain the most weight during November and December. It is the same thing in other countries around their major holidays.
I WAS shocked to learn how long it takes people to lose that weight and the single, easy solution they found to help avoid it in the first place.
But, as I always say, “Just because you've always done something doesn't mean you always have to.”
We don't have to gain a lot of weight this year. We don't. Let's do something different instead!
Instead of making a resolution in January to LOSE all that weight, let's make a resolution now not to GAIN it in the first place.
The #1 Research-Backed Tip to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Okay maybe we will still have a few fun-size candy bars or a bit of eggnog here and there. But if we take a stand now and make a plan, we can stop the cycle.
And the simple most important tool to prevent weight gain is right there, gathering dust in your bathroom. Research proves it. We can totally DO this, guys!
Weigh in every day between now and New Year's. You don't have do it all year. Just during this time of year when we are most likely to lose site of our goals.
NOTE: If you have an eating disorder or a reason not to check your weight daily, you should skip this tip. Instead, it is recommended that you consult your doctor for personalized advice.
Otherwise, pick your favorite type:
Seeing that number every day would make me eat slower and be more mindful of how much food I eat.
There is a school of thought out there that weighing yourself every day is too much, that you shouldn't be a slave to that number. But if the alternative is gaining more weight in two months than we have during the rest of the year…maybe we could do it just for a bit?!
I think we owe it to ourselves and to our health.
So here it is:
Tip #1: Weigh In Every Day.
That is the best tip. It sounds simple, right?! Just do it! People who regularly weigh in are more mindful about what they eat.
If you're ready for that and you want some more, read on because I've got bonus tips to help keep this motivation train going!
Tip #2: Get Mindful About Eating
I will confess that I have eaten SO many meals and snacks without taking the time to pay attention to eating.
This year I found Mindful Eating Meditations on Youtube, Insight Timer app, and other places.
Mindful eating is a game-changer, a simple yet profound way to transform your relationship with food.
Picture yourself enjoying a meal, relishing every mouthful, appreciating the textures, tastes, colors, and the emotions it evokes. This isn't just about eating; it's about experiencing and enjoying your food to the fullest.
Eating mindfully helps you control how much you eat and avoid overeating. It involves paying attention to when you're hungry or full.
Plus, it's a fantastic way to appreciate the moment, reduce stress, and find joy in the little things. So next time you eat, take a breath, slow down, and taste your food – your mind and body will thank you!
How to Stay Motivated to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Tip #3: Find an Accountability Buddy.
If you're motivated and energized right now- keep your momentum going! Find family and friends to do this with.
Declare your healthy living intentions to anyone who will listen!
Show them the research, give them the proof. It can be your neighbor or your cousin half way across the country- or you can get a whole group going to support each other.
Tip #4: Read Up to Keep Your Motivation Up!
You know what they say- “Out of sight, out of mind!” So keep putting healthy messages in front of your eyes, every day!
Grab some eye-opening books to keep you motivated throughout the holidays. Reading a motivational book is like a daily reminder that you have made this commitment.
Check out these Podcasts and Books to Inspire a Healthy Lifestyle.
Tip #5: Count Those Steps
Step trackers help you see how much activity you get each day. With a clear picture of your activity level, you will be have another daily reminder of your October Resolution.
Thinking about buying a new fitness tracker? My pick for an affordable tracker is the latest Fitbit Charge. If you want all the bells and whistles, go for the newest Fitbit Versa or most recent Fitbit Sense.
But upping your activity level is only one piece of the puzzle.
To avoid making the #1 Fitbit Weight Loss Mistake you are going to need to have a plan in place NOW. Before the holidays strike. Hence tip #6.
Tip #6: Start Your New Plan NOW, not in January
Don't wait until after the holidays to log your food or address emotional eating habits.Start now with MyFitnessPal, Paleo Diet, or Noom Weight Loss Coach.
I actually started Noom around Halloween and completed the whole program. Here is my Full Noom Review.
Having seen the research about holiday weight gain, I realized that if I wait until January to get started, I'll have even more work ahead of me.
Tip #7: Set Limits on Halloween Treats
How do you handle holiday treats in your house? Do you backstroke through the Reese's Cups like Scrooge McDuck in his vault? If so, maybe it is time for a family meeting. Get everyone in the house on board to enjoy the holidays….but not too much.
Talk about your goals and how to live healthy through the holidays and discuss ways you can all set limits on treats while still giving yourself a holiday treat.
I've heard lots of rules for Halloween candy, for example:
“Don't buy trick-or-treat candy until the day of Halloween.”
“Only buy candy I don't like”
“My kids pick out their top 20 pieces and we donate the rest.”
“My kids can eat all they want on Halloween. Then, we eat two pieces a day for a week, and then we no longer have it.
How does your family handle higher calorie treats like trick-or-treat candy? Let's hear it in the comments below!
Tip #8: Exercise Before Indulgence
Okay so you know that the holiday season will be filled with your favorite tasty treats.
Leading up to every holiday is a barrage of get-togethers replete with holiday foods. Then there is the day of the holiday. It will be a battle of will power between you and Aunt Hilda's Famous Pumpkin Cream Pie.
Instead of dreading the results of another Thanksgiving Binge-fest, do something about it!
If you know it is coming, you can be proactive. Run or walk. Make your own version of a Turkey Trot 5K that morning, explore your favorite forest preserve, take the dog on an extra long walk. Getting some physical activity will help balance out any extra calories.
Maybe you can make a new tradition to start the day in a healthy way.
You can also swap out some of the heavier classic recipes for one of these 40+ Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes.
The point is you can do your best to offset that big meal so you don't need to break out your stretchy “Thanksgiving Pants” for once.
Tip #9: Strategize for Social Situations
During the holidays, one thing that causes me to gain weight is attending small get-togethers. These gatherings include parties at school or potlucks at the neighbor's house.
The expectation at these events is to socialize and indulge in some food from the cheese and cookie platters. You're supposed to chat and “lightly graze” from the cheese and cookie platters. As if.
So. Let's strategize this time!
Be conscious of your weakness and, like Superman getting the heck away from Kryptonite, find a space far, far away! Notice which room, or corner of the room, doesn't have food and head there.
Drink water and don't show up hungry.
Bring your own healthy snack for the table.
You can do it! If that is not enough, set a snack limit that you won't cross, or find a friend and tackle the tough task together.
Tip #10: Make a Healthy Gift Wish List
If you're tired of ugly cat sweaters and more blue fashion scarves, consider adding healthy gifts to your wish list.
Tell people what you want by using Amazon Wishlists rather than hint around by leaving websites open on your computer for them to see.
In case you need help on that task, might I recommend
20 Family Fitness Gifts
20 Game Changing Tools to Help Lose Weight at Home
Gifts that Go Great with Noom
Ahem. You're welcome!
This way everyone will know that you want to make it a Healthy Holiday.
So there you have it! The #1 tippy top tip to help avoid weight gain, plus 9 more weight management tips for extra motivation.
Got more ideas to side-step the old holiday weight gain, let's hear them below!