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 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 has 2020 treated YOUR waistline?? And now here we are headed into the holidays, wanting to make them extra special to make up for such a crazy year.
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!
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.
This SHOULD go without saying, but if you have an eating disorder or other reason NOT to check your weight every day, then skip this tip and talk to your doctor about tips specific to you.
Otherwise, pick your favorite type:
- Old school analog scale
- Digital scale
- Combo (analog + digital)
- One of the latest wi-fi enabled scales (Fitbit and Withings both make one), just hop on every day to check in.
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 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 stumbled upon Mindful Eating Meditations, which you can find on Youtube, Insight Timer Meditation app, and other places.
Here is a little more about Mindful Eating and how it helps.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are curious about starting Noom, here is my video review.
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. 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. 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.
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 Gift 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
- 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 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!