How To Minimize Holiday Weight Gain

Photo credit Jennifer Pallian

The holiday season poses significant challenges to weight control and eating regulation for all of us and for those who are overweight, a higher degree of effort is required to manage their weight in the long term.

Several studies have found that those who gained weight over the holidays were far less likely to ever lose the weight. So paying attention to exercise and eating behaviors will pay off.
However, you can do what those who have a history of successful weight loss do to maintain or even lose weight during the holiday season. (defined by: lost a mean of 76 pounds and had kept ≥29 pounds off for a mean of 5.9 years)
Compared to Unsuccessful Losers, Successful losers:
  • Make specific preholiday plans to control their eating and
  • Maintain greater exercise,
  • Pay greater attention to weight and eating,
  • Have greater stimulus control,
  • Keep a food journal,
  • Practice greater dietary restraint during the holidays,
  • Eat a healthy breakfast,
  • Weigh themselves weekly.
In general, successful losers give greater overall attention to weight, exercise and eating during the holiday season.

An Exercise to Disprove Negative Thoughts That Derail Your Weight Loss Efforts

Negative thoughts can derail your weight loss efforts and suck you into a downward spiral that will keep you from being successful. 

Try going through this exercise the next time you catch yourself thinking a thought that you recognize will only prevent you from taking positive steps forward.

Negative thought: “I only have 3 weeks until my Palm Springs vacation. It’s not enough time to lose weight or get into shape so I might as well not even try.”

What evidence do I have to disprove that thought? ___________________________________________________________________

For instance, in that time I could lose 5 to 10 pounds. It may not be the 45 that I eventually want to lose but 5-10 would be great. I’ve been able to lose that much in 3 weeks in the past. I can do it! In 21 days’ time, I could realistically do 17 days of 30 minutes of walking. That’s 510 minutes of walking! That’s really something. I’d burn over 1700 calories. I noticed that in the past when I planned my meals ahead of time, packed my lunch and reduced how often I went out to eat, I was able to stick to my calorie goal.

What would be the benefits of trying? _________________________________________________________________

For instance, I’d feel so much better being 5-10 pounds lighter, feel more confident in shorts, after all the cardio I do in 3 weeks, I’d feel like I could walk more easily, I’d feel proud of myself.

In what ways am I critical of myself? ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________

For instance, I view myself as a failure, lazy, unmotivated.

If my best friend told me she had that thought, what would I tell her?  ________________________________________________________________

For instance, I could tell her that if she puts in some effort every day, she will see some progress. I will tell her that she can do this and I would be there to help her and support her.

What am I going to do now?­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________________________

For instance, I will plan out simple meals, chicken or fish and vegetables for the next 3 weeks and walk 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. I will schedule my exercise and write out a grocery list. I’ll tell me husband that I’d prefer us eat at home the next 3 weeks instead of going out to eat. I will log all my food on My Fitness Pal.


Would you eat a hot fudge sundae for breakfast?

 Would you eat a hot fudge sundae for breakfast?

You essentially are if you are drinking a Starbucks Grande White Chocolate Mocha 2% with Whipped Cream as your morning beverage.

Starbucks 16 oz. Grande White Chocolate Mocha 2% with Whipped Cream Dairy Queen Medium Hot Fudge Sundae (234 g) with 7g nuts
Calories 470 445
Total Fat 18 14
Saturated Fat 12 7
Carbohydrates 63 73
Sugars 59 60
Protein 15 10