9 Easy Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Getting through the holidays without gaining a butt-load of weight probably sounds like you have two (crappy) options:
- Eat like a rabbit and be miserable watching everyone eat delicious food. Or..
- Blow all your progress and pig out!
Those are NOT your only options though!
There is a way to find a compromise where you can both enjoy the holiday AND maintain your progress.
You might be thinking I’m full of hot air right now, but I’ve been there.
Just a few Thanksgivings ago I was just a few months out from my wedding.
I was determined to be in the best shape of my life for it.
You know what else I was determined for?
Not missing an opportunity to eat my mom’s mac n cheese.
So yes, there is absolutely a way to enjoy holiday dinners and still meet your fitness goals.
Below are a few of my favorite tips & tricks on how to do it.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of nothing being off limits during a ‘diet’, I go over the entire system in my weight loss plans, check it out here.
1. Eat lots of turkey.
Or whatever main protein you’re having.
Try to stick to the light/white meat and avoid the skin, but other than that go nuts!
Turkey/chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and is low in calories.
2. Load up on the healthier options.
This one is kind of a ‘duh’, but the trick is to go for those things first.
Does Aunt Karen make some killer green beans?
Granny Betty make an awesome salad? Make a bee line for them!
Have you ever noticed at a buffet, you tend to get a lot more of the first things you come across?
And then you find some awesome dish and you can barely fit any.
You say you’ll come back and get more, but you end up being too full – or at least too full for a lot more.
If you fill your plate with the healthier options first, there will be less room to fill it with the other carb-y, fatty, sugary, delicious options.
3. Bring your own dish.
So maybe Aunt Karen’s green beans suck.
Offer to bring a dish and choose something you know you can eat, then load up on that!
Here are a few ideas (I’ll do a healthy holiday recipe list soon!):
- Mashed cauliflower
- Roasted veggies
- Cinnamon baked sweet potatoes
- Quinoa veggie casserole.
4. Don’t drink your calories.
This one is kind of personal preference, but when I’m trying to limit my calories, I prefer to be able to chew on them.
If you cannot live without your wine, juice or milk during dinner, that’s up to you to budget in, but you’ll be able to eat a lot more if you swap those out for water.
I know I’m always going on about tracking your calories (see here for full rant), but one of the biggest surprises people have when they start tracking their calories for the first time, is how many they are wasting on what they drink.
Like throwing calories out the window.
Unless your really, really like whatever you’re drinking.
5. Drink lots of water.
Speaking of drinking water..
One of the biggest battles you will face trying to be healthy on Thanksgiving is getting over not feeling that, “I’m so full, I need to unbutton my pants and nap on the couch for 4 hours now” feeling.
Maybe that’s just me.
But if it’s not, a great way to “simulate” that feeling without sacrificing all your dieting hard work is to drink a ton of water before and especially during eating.
I feel 67% more full when I drink a BIG glass of water while I’m eating.
That’s a made up statistic, but I’m pretty sure it’s definitely probably kind of accurate.
6. Snack before you go.
Have you ever heard the saying, “never go to the grocery store hungry”?
Same rule applies on Thanksgiving.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think rationally when I’m hungry.
If there’s ever a time I break my diet, it’s when I’m unreasonably hungry.
The hungrier you are, the more likely you’ll be to gorge yourself.
If I’m in a neutral place with my hunger, it’s much easier to say no to the things I know I should’t be eating.
Try eating a little something before you leave.
It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, maybe a banana or an apple with peanut butter.
7. Save your carbs.
If you track your macros, follow keto, or do anything that limits the amount of carbs you’re supposed to have, save those for dinner.
That means if this is true for you, before dinner snack on low carb options.
Have some almonds, celery with peanut butter, Greek yogurt, etc.
The most delicious Thanksgiving foods (aka stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, and pie *mmmm pie*) tend to be carb heavy, so you’ll want to have some room to at least have a little bit!
8. Everything in moderation.
If anything is going to get you through this day without destroying all of your hard work, it’s going to be portion control.
If you take nothing else from this list, at least remember this one point.
You can have a little bit of everything as long as you keep it under control!
9. Make your mindset maintaining – not progress.
Winning this fight is a battle of the minds. Well, mind. Just your mind actually.
This isn’t going to be a normal day in your diet, obviously.
But what I mean by that is, on a normal day in your diet, you’re probably excepting to see some results.
On Thanksgiving, this needs to switch slightly from progress to maintaining.
It’s not really realistic to expect to see progress, unless you’re going army general on yourself and 100% sticking to your diet.
Instead, make your goal for the day to not lose any progress. Neutral is the name of the game here.
No progress gained, but more importantly, no progress lost – or minimal at least!
Listen, fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.
We’re in this for the long game.
Your progress wasn’t made in a day and it won’t be lost in a single day either.
10. Don’t Freak Out the Next Day
We’ve all had that moment.
You pig out, then get on the scale and freak out because it went up.
Relax. It’s literally food and water weight at this point.
Enjoy your holiday and then get back to your routine and those pounds will fly off.
Trust me, I came back from a mini weekend vacation this year TEN lbs heavier than I left.
I never recommend rapid weight loss because it doesn’t last.
You know what else doesn’t last?
Rapid weight gain. (Unless you continue those habits.)
I went back to my normal workouts and diets when I got home and the 10lbs were gone in a week.
Because it was 95% food and water weight.
Most delicious foods are high in sodium, which makes your body hold on to excess water.
Once we start sweating and flushing all of that it will fall right back off.
One last thing…
All that being said, don’t be too hard on yourself! The holidays are for enjoying time with your friends and family, and that should be your focus.
Even if you slip a little bit, there is always time to make up for it!
If you’re interested in how you can always eat what you want and still meet your weight loss goals, sign up for my free email course here!
Or if you’re impatient, just jump right into the program!
As always, if you have any questions or topic ideas, leave me a comment or message me on Instagram! ?
Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before making any health, fitness, or diet changes. By using this website, blog, e-mails, or any of our programs, services, or products, you implicitly signify your agreement to all parts of the full disclaimer found at this link.
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.