How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

As fast as summer came and went, we now find ourselves swiftly on the brink of the end-of-the-year holiday season. Synonymous with the holidays are the tantalizing tastes, smells, and daydreams of rich comfort food. We can easily be lured into overindulging, which can come with a hefty dose of guilt. Rather than give in and wave the white flag, try making changes to build the willpower you need to happily eat in moderation, not feel restricted, and prevent holiday weight gain. 

Write Down Your Goals

Take a moment to think about what you want most when it comes to your health. Do you have some weight to lose? Do you want to maintain your current weight? Knowing the specifics will help you make healthier decisions. Writing your goals down makes them tangible, or “real,” and will help you stay accountable. Post your goals in a visible place, like on the front of the fridge. Commit to the goals every day.

Know Your Weakness

Are you a fan of savory or sweet? Do you tend to eat more during the colder months? Understanding triggers that can lead you into making the decision to overindulge may be your biggest mountain to climb. Emotional eating often increases in months where the sun hides and holiday bites seem to be out and about everywhere you go. But it can happen at any time, under almost any amount of stress. Whether your weakness is stress eating, boredom, or your grandma’s chocolate babka, keep it in mind when making food choices.

Set Up a Plan

By taking a moment to reflect on your weak spots, you are creating better awareness of your health habits. Follow up on your newfound awareness with repeated and learned behavior.

  • At holiday events, snack on fruit and veggies and drink plenty of water. Recognize that sugary desserts, heavy sauces, and other delicious foods tend to bring down your energy. Plan on eating foods that give you energy.
  • If you know you’re going to indulge, schedule a workout. Balance is key to staying on track and enjoying the season.
  • During moments where you may feel a case of the holiday blues coming on, call a friend, seek professional help from a counselor, send an email, download new music, or do something that changes negative patterns in a positive way. Food will only feed you. Food will not eliminate the emotional issues you hold within. Take responsibility and teach yourself an improved meaning of food. Build better relationships, take a class, head out for walks, and find your inner drive.

Trust the Process

When trying to prevent holiday weight gain, recognize that this, like anything else in life, is a learning process. Setbacks will only derail you if you don’t learn anything from them. With every setback, take a stronger step forward. Improve with every decision you make, and also pat yourself on the back when you make leaps in the right direction. Practice self-appreciation and self-dedication in your decision-making toward a healthier you.

Preventing holiday weight gain is an inside job. It’s about finding willpower through practice, finding balance through self-care and exercise, and getting stronger through it all.