3 Ways to stick to your goals and stop holiday weight gain

  • 3 Minutes Read

Holiday parties, sugary snacks in the break room at work and an extra long to-do list are just a few of the many hurdles that make weight management more challenging over the holidays. Here are 3 easy-to-implement tips that work to stop holiday weight gain.

3 Ways to stick to your goals and stop holiday weight gain

Holiday parties, sugary snacks in the break room at work and an extra long to-do list are just a few of the many hurdles that make weight management more challenging over the holidays. While most would agree this is a difficult time of year to lose weight, it is certainly not impossible to avoid gaining a few pounds. Here are 3 easy-to-implement tips that work to stop holiday weight gain and may in fact jump start your weight loss!

3 Ways to stick to your goals and stop holiday weight gain

Tip 1: Join an accountability group

Several years ago I taught a community based weight loss class. We were a small group, meeting once a week for 12 weeks. I was skeptical at first, wondering how folks would be able to lose weight during the holidays. Though to my surprise, at the end of the class the average weight loss was 12 pounds! What impressive results for a weight loss program that relied on eating real foods, tracking calories in a food diary, committing to daily exercise and attending class once a week. I was curious how this group was able to stay the course and actually achieve successful weight loss with all of the holiday temptations. Over and over I heard the same thing shared in class: The key to stopping holiday weight gain was to create some type of accountability to avoid the temptation to rely solely on willpower, which doesn't work.

Attend a class, commit to using an app to track your calories, work with a health coach or team up with a friend. Make sure to find a way to create personal accountability and you'll set yourself up for success!

Tip 2: Set a goal & check your progress regularly

At the beginning of each weekly weight loss session I would ask participants to share their goal for the week. Immediately people would respond with, "I'd like to maintain my weight, or "I'd like to lose 1 pound this week." After further conversation people realized they needed to focus on changing a behavior or habit to produce weight loss in order to see progress on the scale. So at the end of each weekly class we'd devote the last few minutes to individual goal setting. Participants would look ahead and plan for any high risk situations they anticipated encountering in the coming week. This reflection and pre-planning set them up for success. For example, instead of arriving at a holiday party on an empty stomach, participants would brainstorm alternate strategies such as eating something light before they went or choosing lower calorie options.

In addition to looking ahead and creating a plan, participants checked their weight every week on the scale. This is in stark contrast to the approach some individuals take during the holiday season. Some people prefer instead to not have a plan reciting, "It's the holidays!" They float through the holiday season and slide into January surprised and frustrated that their pants are tight. The research confirms just what occured in my weight loss class. Employing some type of personal accountability and checking your weight at least weekly results in more success at avoiding holiday weight gain.

What is your plan for upcoming events? Have you gotten on the scale lately?

Tip 3: Everything in moderation

As trite as it sounds this motto can stop weight gain over the holidays. By giving yourself permission to enjoy some (not all) of your favorite holiday treats you'll be able to participate in an important part of the holidays without going completely off the deep end. Instead of worrying about how you'll make it through another party by completely restricting, allow yourself a special treat. Pick something you enjoy, look forward to it, savor it and move on!

Bonus Tip:

If you should find yourself in a situation where you've overindulged and gained some weight over the holidays, take a deep breath. It is not the end of the world! The best thing you can do at this point is to try and not stress about it. We all know that stress only makes matters worse. Instead take a few minutes to create an action plan to get back on track. Here are a few resources that can help you get back on track and create some weight loss accountability.

Getting back on track - when it comes to losing weight

Sick of Relapsing? Here are 4 tips to help you keep the weight off for good!

Conclusion

While food and drink are important aspects of the holiday season, they are only one piece of this rich and colorful time of year. The holidays are a time to slow down and enjoy family and friends. To show gratitude to those in our life, honoring those who are not with us and appreciating those who are by our side. Cheers to a healthy and happy holiday season.

Holidays / Parties->Winter Holiday Season
Dec 18, 2019
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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