The holiday season is a time of year for family and fun. Unfortunately, it’s also a time for overindulgences that can lead to weight gain.
It’s often reported that people gain anywhere from five to 10 pounds during the holidays. However, studies suggest that adults in the United States only gain about one to two pounds on average between the months of November and January (1). Even this modest weight gain shouldn’t be dismissed.
For most, those extra holiday pounds can represent the greatest contribution to their annual weight gain. Research indicates that pounds gained during the holidays are rarely lost afterward (2).
Holiday season after holiday season, a modest one- to two-pound weight gain can easily go unnoticed and add up over the years.
You can still celebrate the holidays without the weight gain! Instead of waiting for the new year to lose the extra weight you accumulated during the holiday season, plan to avoid gaining it in the first place. These tips can help you to have an enjoyable holiday season without getting weighed down.
1. Enjoy your indulgences
Indulging in a few treats here and there does not mean you’ve ruined your progress. The people who have the most success in transitioning to a healthy lifestyle are typically the ones who find a balance between enjoying healthy foods along with a few sweet treats from time to time (3, 4). You can still savor indulgent choices within the context of a healthy lifestyle.
2. Don’t go to a party hungry
Remove the influence of a rumbling stomach by grabbing a light meal or snack before you go to a party. Drinking an IsaLean® Shake on the way to a cocktail party, or grabbing a nutrient-dense snack, before a dinner party can help you keep your cravings at bay. By managing hunger in advance, you can feel confident that appetite won’t overwhelm your better judgment.
3. Schedule your Cleanse Days ahead of time
Committing to a Cleanse Day schedule throughout the holiday season can help you manage the extra calories that this time of year often brings. Studies have found that intermittent fasting on one or two days a week can be just as effective as daily calorie restriction (5). Working in a Cleanse Day or two around occasions when you know you are going to overindulge can help you stay on track.
4. Make smarter choices
When the holiday season comes around, so do your favorite seasonal treats. Allowing yourself to indulge on occasion is a must, but finding healthier options that still fulfill your cravings for holidays favorites can be just as important. For many, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without hot peppermint mocha, chocolate fudge, or pumpkin pie. Finding a healthier way to enjoy these seasonal favorites can keep you satisfied all winter long.
Don’t spend the new year “recovering” from holiday weight gain. Take a proactive approach this holiday season so annual weight gain can be more easily avoided.
- Díaz-Zavala RG, Castro-Cantú MF, Valencia ME, Álvarez-Hernández G, Haby MM, Esparza-Romero J. Effect of the Holiday Season on Weight Gain: A Narrative Review. J Obes. 2017; 2017: 2085136. Published online 2017 Jul 4. doi: 1155/2017/2085136
- Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil PM, Sebring NG. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med. 2000 Mar 23;342(12):861-7.
- Hill AJ. The psychology of food craving. Proc Nutr Soc. 2007 May;66(2):277-85.
- Piehowski KE, Preston AG, Miller DL, Nickols-Richardson SM. A reduced-calorie dietary pattern including a daily sweet snack promotes body weight reduction and body composition improvements in premenopausal women who are overweight and obese: a pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111:1198-203.
- Varady, K. A. Alternate day fasting for weight loss in normal weight and overweight subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2013 Nov 12; 12(1):146