How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Have you heard the average person gains about 10 pounds over the holidays?
Well it’s completely bogus.
I’ll tell you the real number in this article, and give you some tips on how to manage holiday weight gain in general.
The Pre-Holidays Fix
You might think it’s too late for this. But there are several reasons to consider this option.
If you can make some positive changes over the next few weeks, it might be just enough to:
offset any of the celebratory snarfing of food
motivate you to not feel guilty when you indulge
engrain good habits you can keep after the holidays
Here’s the concept:
In the next few weeks you’ll be doing some meal planning. We’re not talking about a strict diet with drastically reduced calories. But you’ll plan when to eat, and roughly how much you’re going to have. (Here's a guide on how to do that without counting calories.)
Here’s the caveat:
When office parties come along, and family get-togethers, etc., you’re going to party (and eat) like it’s 1999.
In other words, enjoy yourself. Eat the treats. Don’t feel guilty about it.
You probably won’t lose any weight this way, but with better eating leading up to all the holiday parties, you probably won’t gain weight, either. Then if you continue these habits, there’s a good chance you’ll lose weight at the start of the new year.
The Mid-Holidays Fix
You didn’t get a chance to do the Pre-Holiday Fix. Now you’re right in the midst of all the face-stuffing goodness the holidays have to offer. What should you do?
There’s a difference between indulging and overindulging.
I highly recommend indulging over the holidays. This is not the time of year to try and lose weight.
Just because you indulge at every opportunity doesn’t mean you have to walk away feeling bloated and needing a nap each time. (Although you can do that a couple times, too.)
If you go this route, feel free to partake in the festivities whenever you feel like it. But whatever you eat, just go for about half of what you normally would like. Split it with a friend if you can.
This way you still get a taste of all the delicious goodies that will be around, but with half the calories.
This option is called “enjoy your holidays and deal with it later.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The truth is, the average amount of weight gain during the holidays is 1.3 pounds. That’s certainly not the end of the world.
This time of year can be stressful enough as it is without constantly depriving yourself at every turn. You don’t have to make it harder on yourself over 1.3 pounds.
Enjoy the celebrations and move on to the next section.
The Post-Holidays Fix
You ate with abandon all season long. That pumpkin pie you devoured (single-handedly) didn’t stand a chance. Now what?
Even though most people only gain 1-2 pounds, without proper guidance it’ll take about 5 months to get back to your pre-holiday weight, if you get there at all. (Read this study on holiday weight gain if you're interested in the details.)
The first thing you don’t want to do is jump on the typical New Year’s resolution bandwagon and start something drastic.
With a sensible nutrition plan and a moderate amount of exercise, you should be able to drop a couple pounds in a matter of weeks. (Although I recommend focusing on fat loss instead of weight loss.)