Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Yes! The holidays are upon us. Time to reconnect with family, take a break from work, and enjoy some good food. For many of us, we look forward to the holiday season while at the same time have a little bit of fear of the old holiday weight gain.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with this apprehension. Believe it or not, a recent study showed that on average, Americans gain 1.3 pounds during the days from Christmas to New Year’s. It even goes further than America, because people in other countries experience similar weight gain. Those in Germany had a 1.8-pound gain and those in Japan had a 1.1-pound gain during their respective holiday seasons.

Click here to read more on Holiday Weight Gain Across the World

So, holiday weight gain is real. But we don’t have to be afraid of it. There’s a few simple steps we can take that will keep up fit and happy during the season. We’ll go through the best tips one by one.

Accept A Little Indulgence

holiday-weight-gain-01Don’t fight too much. You should be able to enjoy your holidays without worrying about your waistline constantly. Yes, you should have those cookies that Grandma makes once a year. After all, it’s not like you can be tempted by them every day. Fill up your plate with a reasonable portion of the foods you like, leave out the stuff you don’t really like, and enjoy it. Sit for a while before getting seconds, it can take time for you to feel full. Doing this will let you make the most of your holiday meal without overindulging.

Exercise in the Morning

holiday-weight-gain-02Before you head off to holiday parties, get up and have yourself a nice morning workout. Studies show that when we exercise in the morning, we’re more likely to remember our healthy habits all day. Not only will you feel like your holiday meal is more of a reward, but you’ll also have a better chance at making healthy choices. Get up and move!

Weigh Yourself

Accountability. It’s a simple word with a simple follow through. Step on the scale twice a week during the holiday season. This will let you know where you’re at, and you can adjust your daily habits to keep in line with where you want to be. A little touch of reality helps keep your goals on track.

Eat Something Light Ahead of Holiday Meals

We know we’re going to have a big holiday meal so we don’t eat until we arrive at the party. This ensures we’re ravenously hungry and fill up as much as possible. This leads to overeating and regret. Have something nice and light a couple hours before you go to a holiday event where you’ll be eating. Eat something healthy and light but filling, like scrambled eggs or whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Whatever it is that works for you, but keep it light, and it will help you when it comes time to portion out your holiday meal later.

Give Away the Leftovers

holiday-weight-gain-03If you’re hosting a holiday party, you’ll likely be left with copious leftovers unless you take special care to make sure the food leaves the house with your guests. You can get containers to create give-away packages of leftovers for your guests. Send them all home with the tasty appetizers, heavy entrees and sweet deserts. They’ll be happy, and you’ll be happy when you don’t have face temptation the next day.

Limit Indulgence to the Parties

Holiday time can feel like a license to throw away our normal focus on health and indulge. It’s okay to indulge, but make sure you don’t let that become your new normal in between your holiday events. On the normal days, in between actual holiday festivities, keep your focus on health up as much as you would normally. A few limited days of indulgence won’t create a problem, but a week or two on end will.

Be Mindful of Stress Eating

This goes along with limiting indulgence to parties. With all the running around, gift getting, party prep, and family worries comes a good deal of stress. Most of us know what this feels like. Make sure we don’t turn to food as a coping mechanism for the stress of the season.

Click here for more on Handling Holiday Stress from my previous writing

Wrapping Up

Let’s wrap this one up like a present. I’ll even put a bow on it! We can still have fun and let loose a little this holiday season without forgetting our normal healthy routine. This will help us keep off that holiday weight gain!

Click here for some more great tips on avoiding holiday weight gain





Alright everyone, have some fun this December. I sincerely hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season this year.


Dr. Rogena Johnson