A Fitness Enthusiast’s Guide to Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Once we move into October, there is an anticipation and building excitement growing for the coming holiday season. It all starts with Halloween, the great festival of indulgence. Once we have finished off the last fun-size Snickers bar, Thanksgiving is there to fill our bellies with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. The next 6 weeks is an onslaught of stressful shopping, company parties, visiting relatives, and tempting treats and goodies. It is hard enough trying to eat healthly, let alone staying on a consistent fitness training schedule. Avoiding holiday weight gain can seem like an almost impossible task. 

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance last New Year you made a resolution to lose weight and get fit. You spent all year working toward this goal. Today, you have either reached your target weight or have made good progress toward it. However, now that the holidays are upon us once again, you fear that you will start to regain all that lost fat. Don’t worry. Today’s article will provide you with some useful advice for avoiding holiday weight gain.

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

1. The One Meal Rule – The rule states: One bad meal will not cause you to gain weight, and one good meal will not make you healthy. If you are otherwise eating healthy and exercising, there is really no reason not to give yourself permission to indulge temptations on a few targeted days. It is one less thing to stress about, and we all know how stress can cause weight gain. So, start with a certain level of acceptance. It will make things a lot easier.

2. Track Your Calories – If you are not already, start tracking your calories with a food journal or a phone app. I recommend FatSecret, which is free and has many great features. I make this recommendation not so much for holiday meals, but to keep you focused and on track for all the other days. Then, your holiday meals can be used as cheat meals, which may actually help boost your metabolism and burn fat.

3. Calorie Cycling – One weight loss trick that works year-round is calorie cycling. Let’s say you have a daily goal of 2000 calories. Rather than strictly adhering to a daily number, focus on a weekly average. One day, you can target 2000 calories. The next day is 1750 calories. The day after that is 2250 calories. There are some benefits to cycling, but, around the holidays, it allows you to bank some calories for holiday meals.

4. Carb Cycling – This is another handy little trick that you can use with calorie cycling, or you can use carb cycling as a stand-alone strategy. Much like calorie cycling, you will create different goals for different days of the week, except this time with your macros: carbs, protein, and fat. This technique is also intended to increase fat burning. However, during the holidays, you will be better able to plan and schedule for those carb-heavy meals.

5. Avoid Alcohol – You likely already know that alcohol is an obstacle to losing weight and getting fit. That said, it is an even greater hindrance during the holidays. Once you have a few drinks down, your inhibitions start to go away. At some point, you are going to stop thinking or caring about what you are eating. Without alcohol, you will be able to maintain some self-control and have some ability to avoid temptation. With alcohol, all bets are off.

6. Bring Healthy Treats – It is just rude not to eat what others have prepared and shared with you. Yet, it is also rude for a guest to come to a party empty-handed. Feel free to bring healthy alternatives to fattening holiday treats. You won’t be able to replace every unhealthy item, but you can give yourself and others at least one dessert alternative. Just make sure the dish is in the spirit of the season.

7. Create a Holiday Workout Schedule – Healthy eating is only part of the equation. Avoiding holiday weight gain will require that you keep to a regular fitness training schedule. This can be a difficult goal this time of year. So, make sure you map out your schedule early and aligning rest days to your holidays. You don’t want to let your fitness taking laps. Failing to regularly workout will contribute to holiday weight gain, and it can be sometimes difficult to restart if you stop.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions for avoiding holiday weight gain? Please leave your comments below.

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53 Comments on "A Fitness Enthusiast’s Guide to Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain"

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Lexa
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Lexa
I already started my detox, and what I do is cut down on carbs and eat them during the day rather than at night. Another way to keep protein levels up is to eat hard boiled eggs which are low in calories. I am a fan of soups so I try to have soup as an evening meal with a little sweet treat, and mix it up. Some nights I like a chowder and other nights a noodle broth soup. It feels good going to sleep with a flat tummy. That way I can still eat the chocolates and cookies… Read more »
Timothy Alexander
Guest

Choosing protein over carbs is a great way to control weight gain. Soups are another good suggestion. However, a person will want to watch out for creamy soups.

Haley
Member
Haley

When will alcohol be absent in the season of celebrations?? That is actually one of the hardest part, how can you avoid something that is easy to reach? haha! by the way didnt know much about the cyling, thanks, will definetly try it!

Timothy Alexander
Guest

Abstaining from alcohol around this time of year is difficult, but alcohol makes it difficult to keep the weight off.

Constar442
Member
Constar442

True. Its really hard to abstain from alcoholic drinks this season. But its definitely worth it if you want to get fit. Few bottles wont hurt on christmas eve. Hehe

stunayoshivongola B.
Member
stunayoshivongola B.

If your lifestyle or career includes a lot of socializing out at dinners or drinks start scheduling workout dates with friends co workers and also consume honey before bed, it can help burn more fat during those early hours of sleep.

michelle camo
Member
michelle camo

It is really difficult to abstain from all the delicious food specially that holiday is so near and we know that we would definitely eat a lot of food during this season since there’s a lot of parties and gatherings but we should still be cautious of our health so we won’t suffer at the end. This is a very interesting article.

szerjhex18
Member
szerjhex18

I admit its hard to control myself to not to eat so much food on vacation. Because it is my way to release my stress from my everyday routine. By going in different places in my every vacation can also gives me a chance to explore more food. And it is good for me because i feel carefree. Tasting every kind of food is fun.

But after my vacationand i know I ganed weight. I do back on my every day jogging routine. Because vacation is done, Normal days is back.

Conrado
Guest
Conrado

I suggest looking for healthy alternatives for your meals. For example eat wheat bread instead of regular bread. Its packed with fibers and is less the calories. Try soy meat instead of meats. Lowfat cheese instead of regular cheese. There are many alternatives. But what is the holidays without the ham or turkey? Its not bad to eat this once in a while. Just make sure u take note of the calories. Start banking those calories so you can eat what you want on the holidays…

sweetpot81
Member
sweetpot81
Holiday season is approaching and gaining weight is as fast as days coming by. Losing weight is so hard especially if you are in early forties because the body’s metabolism is slower as you get older. The above mentioned ideas are really great help for avoiding too much weight gain. Halloween is over but those sweets that our kids collected is still there. We don’t have to deprived ourselves but we have to be reminded of not eating too much. We can actually eat and drink everything but in recommended amount only. Incase that we forgotten about it and feel… Read more »
Flex
Member
Flex
My favorite time of the year and it’s a few weeks away. Even it is not holiday, it is hard to exercise regularly and choose healthy food then how much more if all the temptations are just infront of you waiting to be grabbed in. But I agree to that ‘One Meal Rule’, one bad meal will not cause you to gain weight. Once in a while we have to reward ourselves of the food we are graving in but don’t forget to burn those calories after. After all, it’s once in year only but still be reminded what is… Read more »
sammy-san
Member
sammy-san
It’s a good thing that I don’t drink alcohol. I used to have a heartburn whenever I drank coffee. Therefore, I never attempted to become an alcoholic. At the very least, I don’t have to worry about gaining weight due to alcohol. But since my metabolism has gone slower I must be careful with my calorie and carbohydrate intake. I used to consume rice a lot. But nowadays I try to eat one cup of rice at breakfast time and lunch time. In the evening, I no longer eat rice and I make sure to increase the amount of vegetables… Read more »
hazelandrea
Member
hazelandrea

What I do to reduce the food that I intake is to drink a glass of water before eating. My mother taught me that technique which she also uses and it actually works! I also do it after I wake up so that the body can have the water to cleanse our tummies after a long rest. Since holidays are approaching, it is inevitable to not eat foods that are full of calories. I agree to always bring healthy snacks, maybe fruits, to help with the not so healthy foods we are about to eat.

jaymish
Member
jaymish

I love this article. Incidentally, I was worrying about how to maintain my weight during the holidays. I’ve worked hard for the last couple of months to lose the weight. I don’t want to regain it, yet I want to enjoy my holidays.My brother went to Spain in the summer and in one week had gained 10 pounds. Very stressing!

I like the fact that your strategies are not too restrictive and that you recognize calorie and carb cycling. These strategies are not talked about much, yet are very effective and the perfect way to maintain your weight for life.

fern2x2001
Member
fern2x2001
Yes, during this season is when it’s very difficult not to gain weight or at least maintain it. It’s because of those left and right parties and invitations that promises a lot of great tasting, delicious foods that you don’t get to try often all year round. So having these tips in mind is really great specially for those people who are really into staying in shape, or should i say, weight. Tip number two is a surprise for me because i haven’t thought that there might be an app to help me track my calorie intake so i would… Read more »
kingcool52
Member
Like you said, I think the important thing to do is to not ban yourself from eating good food that you enjoy. If you start to limit yourself and not eat anything sweet then that will only really lead to problems like stress. And the last thing you want when you are on holiday is stress. Take a break, enjoy something that you love to eat without worrying too much about weight. And then once you have relaxed a bit then you can maybe take some time out to do some exercises to ensure that you don’t gain weight too… Read more »
geemojica
Member
geemojica
It is always a good idea to keep in shape before the holiday feasts. When I get overly excited for it, I tend to forget what I need to prepare for and ended up just counting the days before Christmas and New Year. After eating out in a lot of holiday feasts, my clothes does not fit me anymore, and I don’t want to blame myself again. I am going to list down this tips right now and continue doing my cardio sessions. One thing that’s hard is to tract of the specific numbers of my calorie intake. What I… Read more »
gf208
Member
gf208

If you must indulge in a holiday treat, allow yourself 1 small serving. Savor the texture and aroma. Then compensate later on by reducing your calorie intake or burning a few extra calories through exercise.

jaymish
Member
jaymish
The best thing to do for soups,is to cook them yourself. This way you control what ingredients are in the soup.Store bought soups often have hidden calories. Like you have mentioned they may have cream added to them. I agree consuming proteins over carbs is a great way to lose and maintain weight.This is the only way of eating that has worked for me. I have tried all sorts of things since I was in my teens like juicing, the cabbage diet, the boiled egg diet and other horrendous diets.I have lost weight and regained it back again. However on… Read more »
abidly
Member
abidly

Avoiding weight gain when on holiday is actually my problem so i am glad i found this article. Well… Yes i love to be absolutely lazy when i am on holiday and i like enjoying BBQ (a lot of it) soooo yeah, happens that i finish my holiday with extra weight, but as i am ageing, probably i will need to take some care and use this tips to keep my weight and health in balance even on holiday 😀

Martinsx
Member
Martinsx
It’s always a common thing for people to gain more weight especially during holidays like Christmas periods as a result of the lots of eating and get together, together with the celebrations that comes with it. But those that really value maintaining a good shape and keeping fit always take care with what they consume. The rule of one meal a day can actually do a great work in helping one maintain good body shape but it’s definitely going to be more difficult to heavy eaters especially men. Good exercise and workout would be very effective in helping one keep… Read more »
ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

Lord knows I need a guide like this! My weight’s been up ever since our move last month (thanks, junky road food!), and of course the biggest food holidays of the year are right around the corner! I’ve only just started working out again!

Do you have any examples of holiday healthy treats? I know you mentioned dessert alternatives. Were you thinking of something simple like a fruit plate or do you know of any specific holiday-themed low calorie dishes that can be prepared?

Timothy Alexander
Guest

I will have to write up some of my alternatives. My favorite is one that I created playing around. It is a bread pudding made with egg whites and coconut oil, rather than whole eggs and butter. It is still carb heavy, but still much better than the traditional.

stunayoshivongola B.
Member
stunayoshivongola B.

My favorite strategy is to eat as I normally would on holidays, well above maintenance. But after the holidays are over, I’ll just go on a mini-cut for a week or two, to shed the fat gain accrued. It really isn’t so bad. Even if you eat an extra 10.500 calories over the holidays, that’s only 3 lbs of fat. 3 weeks of moderate cutting will balance that out.

fern2x2001
Member
fern2x2001
When there is a lot of food, in a lot of places that i want to have a taste, what i usually do is i eat everything. I get to enjoy everything that is on the table. I don’t deprive myself to enjoy all the good food that is in front of me. But my secret is to eat everything in small portion. I don’t take one dish in bulk. Because that would result in my stomach getting full fast and to overeating. Then i wouldn’t be able to savor all the delicious dishes. So my secret it, taste everything… Read more »
yajtagaamo
Member
yajtagaamo

During this times abstaining with beer and other alcoholic drinks is really hard especially if your friends are so addicted to alcohol. But I will definitely try this out and check if I won’t get too much pounds this holiday season.

Barida
Member
Barida

First, I’m that slim dude that is looking for ways to gain the needed weight, but I have to agree with you on this articles on tips that those that are watching their weight can really adopt to get better at losing those pounds they target to lose. Taking much of alcohol during these period will shatter their fitness goals and instead of losing weight, they will gain more. So, if they could reduce intake of alcohol during this period, it is going to benefit them on a large extent.

stunayoshivongola B.
Member
stunayoshivongola B.

Yes, the most important thing is you enjoy the holiday.

ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

That sound really good! I also agree with avoiding alcohol and tracking calories. I imagine the goal to avoiding holiday weight gain in general would be to watch portion sizes, avoid creamy dishes or dishes loaded with carbs in favor of lean meats and vegetables, and try not to go crazy with desserts. I look forward to seeing a future article on healthier holiday dessert alternatives!

gf208
Member
gf208

Choose water or calorie-free beverages to avoid excess calories. Eat a little something every two to three hours to prevent overindulging on holiday treats.

stunayoshivongola B.
Member
stunayoshivongola B.

I should try this one eating hard boiled eggs.Thanks.

yajtagaamo
Member
yajtagaamo

I tried this already and hard boiled eggs really helped me to resupply myself of protein after workout. I didn’t use supplements because it is too expensive for me.

Jim15
Member
Jim15

This guide is very useful! It can serve as an expert advice for someone who doesn’t know how to get healthy or not ready to sacrifice the happiness of eating a lot because there are a sea of delicious foods out there! Maybe I should try to track the calories I take to be aware if I’m still in track of being fit. Thank you for this guide, it helps me a lot.

macfais
Member
macfais
Instead of turning on your Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or IPhone 8 plus, or Alienware laptop after a heavy cheese-and-macaroni salad snack, it is little bit better to stretch your chubby arms up in the air and shout “I am superman!”. Though funny but I must say, the latter gesture burns you even just a hundredth part of your total calories compare to sitting on your comfy couch, liking the status of a pretty or handsome stranger in your Facebook account, then running the Mobile Legends apps, playing for it for the next 30 minutes. The worst scenario is you… Read more »
gf208
Member
gf208

Start your buffet with salads and fruits. Learn to say no.

ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

Alcohol is basically just empty calories and sugar carbs, so I can see why it’d be best to avoid. That being said, everything in moderation. A single glass of eggnog at Christmas or a single glass of champagne on New Years probably won’t completely destroy your fitness goals. Just try not to go crazy.

ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

Alcohol is basically nothing but empty calories and sugar carbs, so I can see why it’d be best to avoid entirely. That being said, everything in moderation. A single glass of eggnog at Christmas and a single glass of champagne at New Years won’t completely destroy your fitness goals. Just try not to go crazy.

xobe
Member
xobe

I can never tell,lol. Every occasions I eat a lot but I’m not worried because I can manage my daily exercise and keep my body in good shape. All of your suggestions are helpful but of courser it will still be depending on the decisions of individuals if they want lose or gain weight because of celebrating occasions I guess. Eating too much is not good just make sure those food you’re going to deal with is healthy for your body.

Steve5
Member
Steve5
It’s funny how most adults join kids on their Halloween binge. I thought that only children get sick from eating too much candy. Turns out even the grown-ups love their snickers a little too much. It’s easy to give in to the holiday rush. Oh, you feel like eating something from the snack bar? Go ahead. No one will blame you. It’s the holidays! Everyone’s in on the fun. And then we do it again and again. Until we’re too oblivious to notice that we’ve more than doubled our recent dress size. We make so many reasons to justify our… Read more »
ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

@yajtagaamo, that’s a pretty good idea for general workouts! Do you hard boil eggs in advance or right after your workout? Or do you purchase eggs that have already been hard boiled? Do you eat the yolk as well for the extra nutrients or just the whites to keep calories down without losing any of the protein?

stunayoshivongola B.
Member
stunayoshivongola B.

Thanks for the advice Conrado, its seems like your a eating those alternatives would really help to enjoy your holiday, I’m looking forward to do this one.

joey_2tep
Member
joey_2tep

No. 7 really works for me. I always run two days after the blast. Whenever there are family gatherings or going out with some friends, eating a lot and drinking liquors have always been a part of the story. That I make sure that two days after I run for at least 5 km. and of course I do running three times or more a week. Experts say this will keep us from hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and some other illnesses. It makes you confident and always in good mood for it also helps release happy hormones called endorphin.

sammy-san
Member
sammy-san

Most people around the world are having the Christmas countdown. As I’ve mentioned in another comment, besides being a musician I’m also an online teacher. I found out from my Japanese students about a year ago that Japanese families don’t usually celebrate Christmas. For them, Christmas is like Valentines Day where couples go out on dates. Hence, I suppose Japanese people don’t have difficulty keeping themselves physically fit during the holiday season, specifically on Christmas. I couldn’t promise myself to keep a healthy diet this Christmas. But I’ll do my best to observe discipline. 🙂

RinziSevilla09
Member
RinziSevilla09

Every people have this kind of dilemma for those Health Conscious people specially Holiday Seasons. Carbs and Sugar are those you have to avoid, because those two are the main reasons of massive weight gain, Unless you just eat many of those on Holiday Seasons Only and Continuously Working Out for your Body, It Really depends on the person how they will Handle Their Eating Habits.

ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

@Conrado, I don’t think ham or turkey would be bad, especially if they’re leaner cuts and you avoid the skin on the Turkey. These can provide good protein. It’s probably more alcohol, heavy desserts, creamy soups, and other fatty and sugary dishes that are the main culprits for holiday weight gain.

arcenio42
Member
arcenio42
Christmas is approaching. A lot of delicious food will be served in the house of friends; and, of course, it’s hard to say no especially in our culture here in the Philippines. It’s easy to gain weight during Christmas but may not be a problem, in my opinion, when a person makes exercise a part of his/her life. I absolutely agree with tip number one. When a person is “eating healthy and exercising there is really no reason not to give yourself permission to indulge temptations on a few targeted days.” In my case, tip number one is very rewarding.… Read more »
kairos407
Member
kairos407
Eating a lot in holidays are almost impossible to avoid. This we’re the times when you can be merry, lots of family gatherings, going out with friends, colleagues and such. But for me I’m a slim type of guy, a hard gainer. Even though I eat a lot I don’t get much weight to my body that’s why I can eat what I want in holidays. I agree to avoid alcohol because it will produce more belly fats and those hard earned abs will be gone in no time. Keeping track with your workouts in holidays is a smart move.… Read more »
rosebusiness8
Member
rosebusiness8
I think getting enough sleep is also important this Holiday season to help us avoid gaining weight. Due to all these Holiday stresses and parties, we need to have lots of energy to perform our daily routine plus our Holiday errands… And to also face the traffic jams. Getting enough sleep, I believe would make us more productive and smart on making decisions from what to eat and how to control our alcohol intake. Yes, its really fulfilling to eat and have a taste of everything on the table on Thanksgiving and attend Holiday parties almost every night but then… Read more »
szerjhex18
Member
szerjhex18

i need this type of health care now because recently i discovered my husband has a polyp and he need a diet also because he is over weight. That’s why need to monitor he’s eating habit now. And Christmas and new year is near so definitely i need this type of ideas and advice now.

ecole11j
Member
ecole11j

@szerjhex18, I’m very sorry to hear about your husband’s health problems. Hopefully a guide like this will help contribute to his weight loss. Here’s to hoping his health will improve in the upcoming year.

fern2x2001
Member
fern2x2001
Staying in shape requires 3 things. Proper food, proper exercise, and proper rest. Yes, rest is also included in the formula if you really want to stay in shape. Take away any of these three and you’ll be like sitting on a three legged chair with a missing leg. You won’t hold out. But during these season where there is a pour of delicious food and drink everywhere, proper food would really be a question in those three legs. So what do you do?! I believe you should also step up those two legs for your weight to keep up… Read more »
kcboclot
Member
kcboclot

Monitoring calories can be very hard during holidays. I would suggest that you eat whatever you want as long as it will be in small quantities. Don’t forget your everyday morning jog. Just enjoy the holidays people. Don’t be so uptight. Lols.

Dictator20
Member
Dictator20

Every Christmas and Newyear that pass I always feel that I gain alot of wait, I felt like Im really bloated. but this incoming Christmas and newyear I will be prepared because of this. by the way, drinking 2 glasses of water every meal can prevent yourself to eat alot. And it works for me. Also try the everyday body challenge. where you should only eat fruits and vegetables every other day. go green go healthy go sexy.