Standing on weight scale with colorful toe socks.

Best Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

The holiday season is among us! Have you worked hard to lose weight and are worried about the holidays spoiling your progress? 

Staying motivated to lose weight as a new mom is hard to begin with. Now add in seasonal stress and even more temptations! If you want to avoid the unnecessary holiday weight gain AND enjoy your favorite festive treats, then keep reading. 

The good news is you can do both! 

How to avoid holiday weight gain Pinterest pin image.

Below I will share my go-to tips to staying mindful during the holidays. These tips will help you maintain your weight or even continue to lose weight if that’s your goal. It’s time to end the cycle of holiday weight gain. 

Let’s go! 

Get on Board

So why be mindful during the holidays?

A study showed that the average weight gain during the holidays was around a pound. This may not seem like a lot, but on average this weight is not lost. It accumulates year after year. (source)

You may have experienced how easy it is to get caught in this weight gain cycle. My first piece of advice to avoid this is to make sure you are on board with practicing mindfulness during the holidays! 

To get on board, first you need to have a “why”.

Your why will be the foundation that will keep you accountable when things get tough. If you don’t want to gain weight just because you don’t think you should, then you probably will! Make sure your why is something that motivates you. 

For example, it could be that you want to set a good example for your children, you want to live a longer, higher quality life, or you want to be your best self and excel in life. A “why” is simply the reason why you make the choices that you do.

Whatever your reason is, make sure it is authentic and means something to you. 

Be Prepared

Now that you have your why to help you stay motivated through the holiday season, now you need a plan! 

First step is to prepare for what you expect your biggest obstacles will be. Think back on what foods you overindulged in last year. How can you eat those foods more mindfully this year? 

Let’s say you struggled to not overindulge in Christmas cookies. Here are my steps to being more mindful while still enjoying the treats.

Give Yourself Permission

Have whatever you want! You could restrict yourself and just make all the treats off limits. However, this post is all about how to enjoy the holidays while not gaining weight. 

Check in With Yourself Before, During, and After 

Before you eat the treat check in with why you are having it. Are you hungry? Or are you stressed, sad, bored, or anxious? 

Knowing the exact reason, you are eating may deter you from eating it. If you are having any of the feelings above, then know having the treat will only be a quick fix and you should address the root cause. 

Check in with yourself while you’re eating. Slow down, sit down, and get rid of distractions. This allows you to enjoy how good it tastes and take note of what and how much you are actually eating. 

After you’ve eaten, give yourself time to digest before you dive into something else. If you already want more, then maybe what you really need is something more nutritious. Try having a healthy snack with some protein before having seconds. 

Take Responsibility

Let’s say you are having the treat just because you love it. Then that’s fine! Does your choice to overindulge reflect your goals and your why? If it doesn’t and you choose to still eat it then accept it and move on.

We are always trying to do better, but we are not perfect. No need to feel guilt. Being more mindful takes practice and just like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets!  

Another way to prepare is to plan your meals the day of a holiday meal. 

Holiday meals usually consist of an abundance of carbohydrate and higher fat. Have your meals leading up to this high in protein and fibrous vegetables. 

This will keep you full and satisfied longer so you may not feel the need to overeat. It will help curb any sweet tooth. 

What Not to Do

Don’t crash diet or starve yourself before a large meal. Just because you know you will be overindulging over the holidays, it’s not a good idea to drastically restrict your calories or go on a strict diet. Most likely you’ll end up eating those calories back!

Practice Balance

Eating with balance in mind will be your best friend during this season. Remember I said you can have both!  You can’t have both without having balance though.

Practicing balance is eating in moderation and not cutting out food groups. Think the 80/20 rule. This rule means you eat 80% whole foods and 20% treats. With balanced eating you have the freedom to eat foods you love, but without the guilt.

Tips to Eating in Moderation

  • Eat until you are 80% full. This again requires you to check in with yourself during and after your meal. At 100% you are stuffed, at 80% you are full, and anything lower your goal may be weight loss. 
  • Smaller portion sizes during meals and less mindless snacking throughout the day.
  • Make sure your plate has a protein and vegetable source.
  • Drink plenty of water with your meal and throughout the day. Choose to replace sugary beverages with water or tea. 
  • Eat slowly and remove distractions like watching tv or scrolling on your phone.

Make Exercise a Priority

Exercise is a great tool to maintain your weight. It helps preserve and build lean muscle tissue, boosts metabolism, burns calories, and helps suppress appetite. 

Being consistent with exercise during the holidays will help reduce seasonal depression and stress. Also, making exercise a routine will help you stay motivated to keep your nutrition in check. 

An easy way to fit in exercise during this busy season is to include it in family activities! This could be going on a family walk after Thanksgiving dinner or going ice skating. 

Even something like building a snowman is better than nothing. The point is don’t just sit on the couch after an overindulgence. Stay active and make moving a priority. 

Another great tip for making exercise a priority is putting it on your schedule. Plan when and what your workouts will be in the beginning of the week.

Tip: Plan your hardest workout for the beginning of the week and leave a rest day for your busiest day. This way you will be less likely to skip and more likely to keep routine! 

If you are new to exercising, I recommend you start slow. This might look like going on a 20 minute walk every other day or doing a beginner’s workout plan made for busy moms

Whatever you decide to do the most important thing is being consistent with it. Whenever you feel like skipping just remind yourself of your why.

Join a Challenge for Accountability

Having support is huge when it comes to reaching your goals and facing challenges. Let’s admit staying accountable is a huge part of sticking to exercising or eating healthy!

That’s why I suggest you join a holiday challenge to keep you accountable. If you don’t have a challenge to join, simply make one and get your friends or family to do it with you.

To come up with your own challenge pick one or two habits you want to focus on. Then make sure the challenge is specific.

For example, you could focus on exercising. More specifically, exercising 4 days a week for at least 30 minutes for the month of December. Stay accountable to your challenge by getting a friend to workout with and do weekly check ins.

Let your family know what your goal is this holiday season and make sure they support your decision. What better way to focus on mindfulness during the holidays than with friends and family! 

Let’s Wrap it Up!

If there is one thing I want you to take away from this is what you do on a day to day basis will make the most impact. 

If you overindulge 5 days out of the month, you may not notice a difference. A month of overindulging you will notice. Then this could turn into two months and before you know it you will be in a rut. 

Avoid this by establishing healthy eating and exercising habits that you can stick to. Practice mindfulness while eating, eat a balanced diet, and give yourself permission to eat treats you love. 

 Make exercise a routine and find others to support and keep you accountable. If you have your why and a plan, then you will be even more successful. 

Do these things and you will avoid weight gain or even lose weight this holiday season. Wouldn’t that be awesome!?

If you need more weight loss motivation, check out my top tips to lose the belly fat after baby!

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