Winter Is Coming: How to Not Gain Weight over the Holidays

how to not gain weight

The holiday seasons are a wonderful time. Not only do you get to spend time with your friends and family, but you also get to indulge in some delicious food and treats.

But if you’re already overweight or obese, it can be a struggle during this cheerful time; on average, we gain around 0.5 to 2 pounds.

Considering rumors say you gain 5 to 10 pounds during these times, this number is a bit better. But it can still be enough to throw a wrench into your diet plans.

Read on to find out how to not gain weight this holiday season.

Don’t Go to Parties Hungry

You may have heard you shouldn’t shop while hungry; the same principle applies to parties!

Sure, there’s tons of free food at parties, which makes it tempting to show up with an empty stomach. But this can prompt you to take everything that looks good, and that can all quickly add up, calories-wise.

A good plan of attack is to have some filling and wholesome snacks before you leave for a party, such as some rice crackers. This will keep your stomach from grumbling and begging for food when you’re surrounded with delicious treats.

If you don’t have time to fill up on healthier snacks before you arrive at a party, full up on water instead. You can do this beforehand in the car, or just grab a cup and guzzle it down first thing after you arrive.

By filling your stomach with water, it’ll curb your hunger and prevent you from grabbing everything that looks good. Plus, it’ll keep you hydrated; this has its own little benefits, such as nicer skin.

Pace Your Eating

For some people, they try to curb their holiday eating by giving themselves a time limit. For instance, they’ll tell themselves they can only eat during the first 30 minutes of a party.

While this sounds good in theory, it can quickly backfire. Instead of having just a small bit of food in 30 minutes, they end up cramming as much as they can in that short time period. This results in overeating and uncomfortable feelings, such as bloating and gas.

The better idea is to pace yourself and enjoy the foods slowly. When you’re not restricted to a certain timeline, you’ll relax more and carefully weigh your options more wisely.

Get your food, and take the time to chew it thoroughly. Maybe combine it with socializing so you’re not constantly grabbing food.

Combining eating with other activities (like socializing) can help you stretch out one dish over a longer period of time, not to mention help you chew more too. When you chew your food more, you’ll feel full faster.

Don’t Go Wild With Buffets

Some parties will serve food up buffet style so everyone can enjoy better convenience. Your first instinct may be to fill your plate to the brim with fried chicken, gravy, and other fatty (but delicious!) foods.

To get a handle on your eating, you should treat the buffet like a normal meal. If there are different plate sizes, choose the smallest. This can help trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you really are.

Feel free to take some meat, but just one serving. Make sure you’re eating a balanced meal by serving yourself some vegetables to go along with your main course. Try to stay away from sauces and dips, since they’re full of calories.

At the end of your meal, you may want to pile the desserts onto your plate. It’s the holiday season, after all.

Here, you have two choices. You can sacrifice those tasty desserts and fill up on fruits instead.

Or you can still have desserts, but make the portions smaller. If you’re there with your partner, suggest splitting a cake slice between the two of you. You’ll both benefit from this calorie-decreasing move!

Add Some Exercise

It’s cold, you’re full of food, and you just want to hang around the house with your loved ones. While this can be fun, you’ll probably feel bloated and uncomfortable, even if you’ve been mindful about what you ate.

When you have some downtime, think about hitting the gym and getting some time on the treadmill. Even a little bit of exercise can be good for your metabolism, and it can help that bloated feeling go away quicker.

If you don’t have access to a gym, you can also go for a walk, run, or bike ride in your local area. This gives you a chance to breathe in some fresh air and take in some beautiful sights.

If you’re overweight and/or have issues with your joints, it may be hard to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. But there are plenty of cardio routines you can take up, even if you have something like knee arthritis.

You can also try going for a walk around the neighborhood with your family and friends. This gets everyone off the couch and on the streets, which can be hugely beneficial.

Outdoor physical activities can give you a chance to have a one-on-one with a family member you haven’t had a decent conversation with lately. Not only can a walk be good for your physical health, but also your mental health.

Weigh Yourself Regularly

You may be in denial when there’s no solid numbers in front of you. Maybe your shirt’s shrunk a little in the wash, that’s why it feels a bit tighter.

This kind of thinking can lead to unrestricted eating during the holiday season and can cause the needle on the scale to creep up.

When you weigh yourself consistently throughout the holidays, you’ll witness the weight gain when you see the numbers increase. You’ll be able to change your habits much sooner than if you hadn’t weighed yourself.

Stay Away From the Drinks

This one may be extremely hard to do, especially if everyone around you is drinking. Wine, champagne, and egg nog may be passed around, and you don’t want to say no. Plus, it’s fun letting your hair down a little during the holiday season.

If you use all our other tips, then it might be ok to have a drink here or there. But don’t go overboard. Not only will you wake up with a hangover the next day, but you’ll also have ingested an excessive amount of calories. 

If you feel pressured to drink excessively, make sure you have a glass of club soda or water in your hands at all times. When people see that you have a drink already, they won’t be as likely to push an alcoholic beverage into your hands.

Instead of egg nog, make yourself a cup of tea instead; it’s actually a great weight loss drink (if you don’t put sugar or creamer in it). It’ll keep you warm, tastes great, and can take up some room in your stomach so you don’t eat as much food.

Politely Refuse and Stand Your Ground

This may be the hardest thing to do in your life: saying “no” to Mom or Grandma. These are the people you love, and you want to please them, so you may be used to doing everything you can to accommodate and satisfy them.

But you have to learn to be confident in your life choices, and this means saying “no” and sticking to it sometimes. If your relatives are stubborn, patiently explain to them you’re watching out for your health, and if they still insist, politely say “no” each time.

Think of this as an important life lesson. If you can decline a request from a loved one, then sure you’ll be able to do it with strangers! This can help you become stronger and more confident in your other life choices.

Know How to Not Gain Weight This Holiday Season

We know it’s hard, but it’s not impossible to keep the pounds off when you go home for the holiday seasons this year. By being conscious about what you eat, adding some exercise, and using other tips on how to not gain weight, you’ll find it’s not so bad when trying to resist the holiday treats.

The best thing about utilizing our tips is these are lifestyle changes you can apply to the rest of your life. That way, if you ever find yourself gaining weight at any time of the year, you can remember our advice and work towards a healthier you.

If you want to not only keep the pounds off, but also shed some, then take a look at this article. We’ll discuss how many calories you should burn a day to lose some weight.

11 thoughts on “Winter Is Coming: How to Not Gain Weight over the Holidays

  1. This time of year is difficult because there is so much temptation. It starts with Halloween and goes right through to New Years. I have decided to be better prepared this year, so I’m glad I found your post. I love all of your tips but the one hit me the most was about not going to a party hungry. I find that if I shop while I’m hungry, I end up buying things I don’t need. So I make sure I shop after I have eaten. It only makes sense that this strategy will work for holiday parties as well. I’ll be sure to eat a healthy meal before I go out, this way I will be much less likely to go overboard on the wrong things. 

  2. Get post. I find myself easily eating too much during the holidays. One thing I find is (like you mentioned) is not going to parties hungry. That helps with the weight gain. Another thing I find that helps is pacing myself. If I have a little of this and a little of that helps with the overeating which helps me with the weight gain. Also I get try sample all the yummy foods without gaining too much weight. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I found this post at the perfect time because here in Canada I have Thanksgiving in a few days. I have been trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year and I was already dreading this holiday because I know once the turkey and stuffing and potatoes and gravy come out my willpower will be out of the door. Thank you for your helpful tips and hopefully I can put them to good use in this coming week.

    1. Hi Jordan,

      I wish you the best as you try to put those vital tips to good use. Determination and persistence are very important on the fitness journey. 

      Good health to you. 

  4. Going to parties on a full stomach is a really good idea. We have been accustomed to making sure we have not spoiled our appetites before the party. It is only after the party that I start counting the calories I ate and hate myself for that. It will be  very difficult to say no to Mom and Grandma. They do not get why at a family gathering, I can’t eat as I should, Thank you for these awesome tips. Will sure keep them in mind in my next party.

  5. Really well written article! When you were talking about time limit, I always stand with that rule, just not in that way. For example, I don’t usually eat heavy foods like pizza, rice, pasta etc after 6 pm. Your body needs to digest food properly and eating these types of food are not really recommended eating them before going to bed. I always say, it’s not really about what you eat but how much of said thing you’re eating. 

  6. What a very timely article! Holidays are a time for actually eating tasty food instead of my scarcely edible fare. I used to pile food on the plate and stuff my face. It’s not so bad now that I have a gluten allergy. The tastiest foods all seem to have wheat in them, even desserts. Still, what’s not to like about buttered mashed potatoes? Thankfully, I’ve never cared for the taste of alcohol, so it’s not an issue. I will remember the water-drinking hint when I go somewhere that serves lots of delicious food. Thank you!

  7. Hi Anthony,

    Good post,

    It’s all about planning isn’t it , some forward thinking required as we approach the holiday season, when more delectable, attractive looking delights tempt our eyes and aromas  start that  salivating process and we think, mm.. perhaps just a little!

    Yes definitely keep up the fluids and a cup of tea is always a great idea! It is filling and most teas just taste delicious!

    Thank you


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