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Avoid weight gain over the silly season.

We know it’s a common problem for many of us, but you can go without it. Do you want to know how?

The festive season is so exciting. We get to catch up with loved ones, laugh and forget about our worries. However, most of this is done around food. Food has the power to bring people together, and while it is a great thing, we want to stay moderate. Many of us feel guilt afterwards and struggle to lose weight again. Research has shown that, on average, an individual gains half to 1 kilo during the silly season and never loses it again.

If you want to avoid extra kilos, try these tips.

1. Be active with family and friends.

Why not swap sitting on the couch watching Netflix movies with some friendly family sport? Healthy competition between loved ones is a sure way to enjoy a good laugh and get in some movement. This could be a game of volleyball, football, cricket or even Marco Polo in the pool. You could also take a walk with a loved one after a meal, spend quality bonding time together, or even go exploring and plan a family hike. Any bit of activity with your family will help you avoid weight gain. 

2. Choose your snacks carefully.

Baked goods are flowing freely in our homes at this time of year. These high sugar & high fat treats are integral to the enjoyment but need to be moderated to avoid weight gain. You could start by not keeping these treats in your house and limiting them to social events only. Also, ask yourself if you are munching or hungry. You could also make a swap sometimes to fruit, nuts or popcorn. This will help keep your weight gain at bay.

3. Watch your portion size to avoid weight gain.

How to avoid weight gain by using the Healthy Plate ModelHEALTHY PLATE MODEL

The best way to control your calorie intake is to watch what you put on your plate. Be aware of how much you take, and don’t eat with your eyes. If you have been restricting yourself all year, it will be harder to control yourself around this season. Try using a smaller plate and the plate model guide to balance your meals no matter where you are.

4. Eat Mindfully

A great way to stick to the portions you have served yourself is to slow your eating and eat mindfully. The more distracted you are from your food, the more likely you are to overeat, as you are not paying attention. Put away your screens, chew slowly and listen to your body’s fullness signals. Eating slowly means savouring your grandma’s Christmas pie, every flavour, texture, smell, and how it makes you feel. Take a few deep breaths before eating to help you relax and bring your attention to your plate.

Check out my free hunger scale. It makes a fantastic phone screensaver, reminding you to listen to your body.

5. Get good quality sleep.

Getting too much or not enough sleep during the festive season is expected. This directly impacts weight gain as hunger hormones are not regulated as well. This causes you to be hungrier, leading to increased food intake. Oversleeping can impact your metabolism, slowing it down and affecting your biological clock, which regulates many aspects of your body’s work.

6. Avoid desserts as much as possible

Dessert is loaded with sugar, and it is everywhere. Try not to go gaga at the dessert table and choose one, your favourite. If you want to try more than one, share with a friend and remember to eat slowly and mindfully. 

7. Keep an eye on your liquid calories to avoid weight gain.

While sugary beverages like coke and fruit juices are just as loaded in sugar as desserts, there is another liquid we need to control to avoid weight gain. Alcohol is calorie-dense; this means that per ml or gram, it has more calories than bread, pasta or sugar. Drink slowly, choose lower-calorie mixers and drink plenty of water in between. 

Remember that alcohol also increases your appetite, so you are more likely to indulge in foods when you are not hungry and have less control over your food choices when drunk.How to avoid Weight Gain when drinking Alcohol.( )

8. Have a reliable, accountability buddy to help you not gain weight

Trying to be a little bit more sensible with your eating and drinking is made more accessible when you have a friend or loved one willing to do it with you. That way, you are not alone in the process and have someone who can gently nudge you to remind you when you need it.

Find someone with the same goals as you and make a pact to check in on each other and hold each other accountable.

9. Skip the seconds when you are trying to keep off the weight

You can go back to the buffet. I know the selection can be vast and exciting, and you may feel like you want to try it all. Do your best to stick to one plate.

You can always eat again later in the day when you are hungry. This is a tricky one, especially when all your favourites come out, but having that second or third plate won’t help in the long run when you are trying to avoid weight gain.

10. Banish the all-or-nothing mindset

The most common reason people binge eat and drink during this season is that they believe they won’t get the chance to do this again until next year. They also use the excuse that after the new year, they will change. But do they? The all-or-nothing mindset is guaranteed to set you up to fail.

Take Home Message

Make this festive season memorable by enjoying the atmosphere and company and keeping yourself healthy to maximise enjoyment. If you are comfortable, full of energy and well rested – I can assure you will be in control of the weight gain this festive season and won’t need to worry about a big new year to shed off all the kilos you stacked on.

The habits we create throughout the year will help us get through this period with grace. Watch your drinks and portions, and stay active.

I have put together a free Festive Season Checklist just for you! Click here to download it and put it on your fridge or as wallpaper on your phone.

We would love to see all your favourite festive foods. Tag us on Instagram (@weightloss_nutritionist_) or Facebook (@eatsmartdieteics) so that we can share in your food joy!

Happy Holidays

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