The holiday season is a wonderful time to get together with loved ones and enjoy some of your favorite meals. But, it can also be a time when many overindulge, setting weight-loss and health goals aside.
It’s commonly reported that the average weight gain around the holidays is about 5-10 pounds. The good news is that when researchers actually dug into U.S. national data, they found that folks tend to gain only 1-2 pounds throughout the holiday season (1). In their study, they measured the weight of about 200 adults before, during, and immediately following the holidays, then again several months later.
The bad news was that although the weight gain was minimal across the U.S., it was rarely reversed, meaning the majority of people keep that 1-2 pounds throughout the following year.
While a 1-2 pound weight gain may not sound like a lot, it can be extremely discouraging for someone who has been working hard to keep the pounds off. It can also make getting back on track more difficult.
Modest weight gain around the holidays becomes even more concerning when you consider that those pounds add up over the years. For someone who has a large amount of weight to lose, consistently gaining 1-2 pounds every year can dramatically slow overall progress.
But with these steps you can better prepare for this holiday season.
Step 1: Have a Plan
Completely depriving yourself of your favorite meals is not the answer. Most of us will eventually give in to temptation if we constantly feel deprived. Develop a plan before the holiday to help you compensate for the not-so-healthy holiday meals.
Having a few occasions planned out can help remind you that you have a meal to look forward to, giving you the willpower to stay away from holiday goodies. Drinking an IsaLean® Shake for breakfast can also help you minimize calories when you know you’re planning on indulging later in the evening.
Step 2: Schedule Your Indulgences
A recent study investigated how lapses in self-control affect overall goals in a variety of settings including weight loss, exercise, and financial planning. The study found that when people have a preplanned time to deviate from their long-term goals, they were better able to adhere to their plan and had more positive emotions around their long-term goals (2).
The researchers explained that the purpose of this study was to try and offer a solution for goal-setters who frequently find themselves quitting after they start “falling off” their plan. These results are exciting because they suggest that goal setting and scheduling indulgence can offer flexibility while keeping you on track.
Step 3: Schedule Your Cleanse Days
Work in an Isagenix Cleanse Day or two around days you know you might indulge. Studies have found that calorie restriction or intermittent fasting for one or two days a week can be just as effective as daily calorie restriction (3). It can be an effective way to keep the weight off during the holidays. Isagenix Cleanse Days also offer nutritional and detoxification support compared to normal fasting.
Scheduling a Cleanse Day after a holiday feast (such as the day after Thanksgiving) may be exactly what your body needs to get right back on track in the days following.
Step 4: Indulge a Little
Indulging in a few treats here and there does not mean you have ruined your progress. The people who typically have the most success in transitioning to a healthy lifestyle are the ones who find a balance between enjoying healthy foods along with a few sweet treats from time to time. Just be sure to watch your portions.
Staying on track during the holidays can be hard for even the healthiest individual, but having a plan that allows a bit of deviation without going overboard can prevent the risk of overindulging and the anxiety of falling off track. So allow yourself to have that slice of pie after dinner, just don’t eat the rest as a midnight snack.
- J.A. Yanovski, S.Z. Yanovski, K.N. Sovik, T.T. Nguyen, P.M. O’Neil, N.G. Sebring. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med. 342 (23) (2000), pp. 861–867
- R. Coelho do Valea, R. Pietersb, M. Zeelenbergb. The benefits of behaving badly on occasion: Successful regulation by planned hedonic deviations. Journal of Consumer Psychology. Jan. 2016
- 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