The statistics may vary, but most studies show people gain weight during the holidays, or as I like to call it, Eating Season (officially October 31st-Jan1st).
Whether it’s 5 pounds or 15 pounds, it’s largely unnecessary and is often a pattern repeated year after year, resulting in the “how did I gain all this weight?” phenomenon.
Body weight is certainly not the only factor in determining a healthy body, but it certainly plays a role, and the health risks of obesity are well documented.
So, now that I got all the preachy preachy out of the way, let’s discuss my top 5 tips for NOT gaining weight during Eating Season.
Ok, so maybe that’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s fairly accurate:-)
For reals now, here’s the actual list…
Remember We’re Not in a Famine
If you’re reading this, chances are you have access to an unprecedented amount of food and food storage, more so than any other time in human history. We have refrigerators and deep freezers and mini fridges, we have grocery stores and massive gas stations and fast food, and more restaurants than anyone legitimately needs. Yet, when we encounter a holiday party with food that, let’s face it, could be made at any time of the year, we act like there’s an impending famine and if we don’t eat it ALL RIGHT NOW we will never see any of it again. Take a deep breath, understand you’re not starving, and be mindful of the food venturing into your mouth.
Assuming you’re already working out on a regular basis, keep doing it! If you’re not, START!! Don’t be the person who waits until January 2nd to fire up the ol’ fitness routine…AGAIN. Make it a part of your daily life. Most of my clients report more mindfulness (there’s that word again) of their eating when they are working out consistently. No one wants their hard work in the gym to go to waste, or their body to take twice as long to recover due to poor nutrition and inflammation. This time of year it’s really easy to let parties and other activities get in the way of your fitness routine. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, get up and move!
Plan Your Meals
I discuss this a lot, but it’s even more important during the holidays. Plan your meals throughout the week and stay in control in the areas you are able. Just because the office brought in Santa like jelly filled donuts or a cupcake cake shaped like a turkey, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. The more meals you have planned and prepared, the more likely you are to stick to that plan and not give in to the temptations of breakroom snacks or block party smorgasbords.
I’m a huge fan of personal accountability, as no one can really do any of this for you. YOU have to want the results/change/good health, etc. Set some short term goals for yourself between now and January 1st. It could be a certain number of workouts, drinking a certain amount of water each day, getting enough sleep each night, eating so many vegetables each day. Anything you can think of that leads to a healthier body, WRITE IT DOWN and stick with it throughout the holidays. It doesn’t have to be anything major, just a reminder to not say the hell with it all and cause yourself even more work to get back to where you started.
This may seem counterintuitive to some, but it’s my personal strategy and I’ve seen it work for others as well. When I go to a holiday party or it’s time for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/Fesitivus dinner, I eat and drink what I want. If you’ve been following along, you know I’m a foodie at heart. As I’ve stated before, I could easily be a happy fat kid mowing down cheeseburgers and brownies every day!! HOWEVER, as fun as that sounds, I know the consequences of such behavior, and I choose otherwise. But I digress.
I love holiday food, I love trying out culturally unique homemade dishes, and I love having a bourbon or two from time to time. This is not my norm, though, nor should it be for you. There is no such thing as “perfect” eating, but I strive to fuel my body with food that will serve me well about 90% of the time, which allows me to indulge the other 10% of the time without shame or guilt or any of the other feelings people often have after consuming to excess. If you’re following good habits the vast majority of the time, you don’t have to worry about Thanksgiving dinner or a few parties here and there.
There will ALWAYS be an excuse for gluttony. Holidays, weddings, birthdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. It may seem easy to just eat and drink however much you want with no thought of the repercussions, but 5lbs during the holidays and 5lbs of summertime beer and 5lbs of good grief I’m stressed and food makes me feel better all lead to waking up one day wondering how you gained all that weight, and left with knowing it could take twice the effort to get it back off. OR you can enact a little bit of discipline, enjoy yourself in a reasonable manner, and keep striving for a healthier, happier you.
If there’s anything I can help you with regarding your fitness and nutrition goals, please contact me. I’m here for your success!!
In addition to coaching people to better fitness and nutrition, Marc enjoys writing and helping expand people's minds to live their best life.
Want to learn how to stay in shape on a busy schedule? Download our free guide!