Holiday weight gain is a common concern for many adults around Christmas season. While our approach is to enjoy rather than restrict, we understand the feeling of sitting in a chair after dinner and instead of getting up to dance and have fun, all you’re thinking is how sick you feel from how much you ate, and that’s no fun for anyone. That’s why we wanted to compile a list of tips to avoid overeating during the holiday season so you can continue to feel your best!
Usually this time of the year may encourage overeating, overdrinking, sedentary behavior, and consumption of carb-rich foods. However, holiday weight gain is not inevitable it all depends on you and how you approach the holiday season.
Today we want to share with you 10 tips to help you keep an eye on what you’re eating and avoid weight gain during the holiday season.1- Watch portion sizes
When the holidays arrive, there’s always more food around and it can be easy to overload your plate and eat more. Our solution is simple: to control portion sizes.
There are several ways you can do it: in cases where there’s a table with lots of different food displayed, you should use a plate, just a regular one preferably, and sit down to eat instead of eating while standing. This will help you eat at a slower pace and remember that once you’re full your body is telling you to stop eating.
To determine an appropriate portion size it’s convenient to read food labels and the recommended serving sizes for each recipe. In case this is not available to you, fill your plate with a reasonable amount of food.
2- Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It’s not a diet in the conventional sense since it doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, but rather when you should eat them. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours twice per week.
Weight loss is the most common reason for people to try IF in the first place. By eating fewer meals, IF can help stabilize blood sugar spikes and hunger, and avoid insulin resistance. Plus it changes hormone levels to facilitate weight loss. If you use this eating pattern this holiday, you’ll also be giving your body the chance to cleanse and to process every extra food you may be eating.
There are different ways of intermittent fasting:
- The 16/8 method. Also known as the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours and then you fast for 16 hours.
- Eat-Stop-Eat. This involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
- The 5:2. You consume only 500 calories on two nonconsecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
- Read more about it other ways in Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide
3- Mindful eating
People are often in a rush during the holiday season, which frequently leads to multitasking 24/7, including during meals which can lead to overeating or not paying any attention to what you’re putting into your body.
To prevent this, we recommend you try mindful eating, to minimize distractions. Try to take a couple of deep breaths before you start eating. Chew as slowly as you can. This will allow you to first, enjoy each meal better, and second, to recognize your body’s fullness signals and consume fewer calories.4- Keep up your physical activity
During the holidays it is so easy to just forget about moving your body. However, it is when your body needs it the most. Inactivity contributes to weight gain as well as other diseases.
Try to keep up with your workout schedule as you do if it weren’t the holidays. Another thing you could do is to start a family tradition to go out for a walk after every meal. Not only you’ll be helping your digestion and your body, but you’ll be enjoying quality time with your loved ones.
5- Plan healthy snacks
One of the most common things during the holiday season is to snack on leftovers. Instead of doing so, this year try to plan and make healthy snacks before entering the holidays, so you’ll be stacked with healthy options.
You can either make them and store them in the fridge, like these delicious protein bars, or you can buy them and have them ready to eat in your snack cabinet. Healthy store-bought snack ideas could be some mixed nuts, and our Funky Fat Chocolates.6- Stay away from stressful situations
The fact that stress can lead to overeating, is a well-known truth. So you know, try to avoid any stressful situations during this time of the year (or at any time of the year when possible). With all the family gatherings and the grand meals and everything, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed about upcoming events. Try to take it easy, and eat foods that help cope with stress and reduce it.7- Get enough rest
Getting enough rest is crucial to have good overall health. If you don’t rest properly you’ll probably have more cravings for ultra-processed food and more hunger cues. Try to go to sleep at a decent hour and get some good quality sleep.
As well as that, you should also pay attention to the other types of rest and try to take one full day off a week, get some fresh air, meditate, and have some time off from the screens.8- Be more mindful of your drinking
During the holidays we tend to drink more alcohol since there are more celebrations than usual. These drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain. Plus, alcohol consumption is often linked to increased appetite and cravings for fast food.
Whenever possible, try to change the alcoholic drink for a healthier option. This will help you reduce your alcohol intake and keep your weight in line.9- Just say “No”
Learning to say “No” is a very powerful tool in life. And in this situation, it is no different. If you’re already full, and somebody offers an extra serving of something, just listen to your body and the signs that it is sending you. Learn when to say no and do whatever feels best for your body. This applies to food as much as to drinking, family and friend gatherings tend to include peer pressure but remember, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
10- Remember your goals
As we’ve mentioned earlier, not gaining weight during the holidays only depends on you. If you have a physical goal, remember it, and don’t lose focus. Your progress won’t go away in one week, however, when you feel like you’re overeating, indulging yourself, or not moving your body, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Keep your goals in mind and listen to your body.
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