Hi guys, today I wanted to talk to you about research coming out about 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 is around the corner and the season of sweets begins:
Parties where 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 school and office parties. 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 the “once a year” holidays of the past 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. I don't know about you but this video really makes me want to make a change:
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 the most weight during the months that include the holidays. 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.
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 answer is right there, gathering dust in your bathroom. Research proves it. We can totally DO this, guys!
I know seeing that number every day would help me pump the brakes during my normal full-speed-ahead collision with ALL.THE.FOOD I can cram into my face.
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!
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 Reminders.
I will confess that I read Professor Wansink's advice last year (I follow him on Facebook. He was my favorite prof in college!) and I started out strong. I got my scale out, hopped on…for two days in a row…and then…oops. Forgot. Life. Kids. It happens.
So when I watched the video, above, I realized I was going to need more than just seeing his inspirational video once. I need reminders. I need you guys. And maybe…you need me too? What do you say if we do it together?
Here is what I will do. I will post daily reminders to weigh in on my Fitness Trackers for Normal People Facebook Page. You don't have to list your weight. Just comment “Done” each day. If you miss a day, don't get down on yourself, just hop back on and keep going.
Let's try it! What is the worst that could happen!?
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!
Let's not make a resolution in January to LOSE all that weight. Let's make a resolution now not to GAIN it in the first place.
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 a friend to do this with.
Declare your October Weight Gain Resolution to anyone who will listen!
Show them the video, 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.
Two Mega-Motivating favorites of mine are the farthest from typical diet books as you can get. Slim By Design (I actually redid my kitchen food storage based on this book!) and Mindless Eating (I bought our everyday dishes based on this one!).
If you have a good health-related book to recommend, let's hear it below.
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.
If you are already part of the Fitbit Craze, you'll find tons of helpful resources on my Everything Fitbit page, including my free Fitbit Printable Worksheet, which will be SUPER helpful when the weather keeps us indoors more.
If you are considering getting a step tracker, here is where to buy a Fitbit at the best price, for each model.
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
Whether you simply start logging your food on MyFitnessPal app, start a Paleo Diet or dig deeper to tackle the habitual, emotional side of eating with Noom Weight Loss Coach, start now instead of saying you'll do it after the holidays.
Having seen Professor Wansink's video I realized that if I wait until January to get started, I'll have even more work ahead of me. I'm currently starting week 3 of Noom, five pounds down, ready to stare Trick-or-Treating in the face.
Tip #7: Set Limits on Treats
How do you handle holiday treats in your house? Do you backstroke through the Reese's Cup 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. Two pieces a day after that for a week, then it is gone.”
How does your family handle trick-or-treat candy, or other special holiday treats? Let's hear it in the comments below!
Tip #8: Exercise Before Indulgence
Okay so you know that Thanksgiving Day will be filled with your favorite tasty treats. 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. Find a local Turkey Trot 5K to run that morning (walkers and joggers are always welcome), explore your favorite forest preserve, take the dog on an extra long walk.
Maybe you can make a new tradition to start the day in a healthy way.
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
One of my biggest obstacles that leads to holiday weight gain are those random little gatherings, like the classroom party or potluck at the neighbors house where you're just expected to socialize and lightly graze on cheese trays and cookie plates. 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. 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 Wish List
If you are tired of ugly cat sweaters and yet another blue fashion scarf, maybe it's time to add some healthy gifts to your wish list.
Whether your family uses Amazon Wishlists, or you just need to drop hints by leaving websites up on your computer, let people know what you want! (In case you need help on that task, might I recommend Fitbit Accessories, 20 Family Fitness Gifts or 20 Game Changing Tools to Help Lose Weight at Home. 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 holiday weight gain, plus 9 more tips for extra motivation.
Got more ideas to side-step the old holiday weight gain, let's hear them below!