It may be the most wonderful time of the year but the holidays can pose a significant risk to your
waistline! A recent study found that people gain an average of 1-2 pounds over the holidays; active
people experience the least weight gain while overweight individuals suffer the most.
The researchers also found that holiday weight-gain is not fully lost over the course of the year. This
cumulative effect every holiday means that people keep piling on the pounds, year after year. On
the bright side, there are several scientifically proven ways to avoid holiday weight gain.
8 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain during the Holidays
Watching your weight during the holidays does not mean that you need to swap your Christmas
turkey for a bowl of salad! There are ways to eat all your favorite foods and enjoy the festivities
without worrying about weight gain. These simple but scientifically-proven methods will help you
stay slim and svelte this Christmas.
1. Eat slowly
As kids, our parents constantly reminded us to eat slowly and chew our food well, it seems they
were right on the money. A study on the effects of eating habits on weight gain found that changes
in eating speed can affect BMI, waist circumference, and overall weight.
The study found that people who eat slowly are 42% less likely to be obese and that reducing eating speed can help to prevent weight gain. This means that you don’t have to resist those sinfully delicious Christmas foods, you
just need to slow down and savor each morsel.
2. Have a hearty breakfast
Don’t skip your breakfast to ‘save space’ for a large lunch as this will leave you ravenous by
lunchtime and you are more likely to overeat. A hearty but healthy breakfast will help you stick to
normal portion sizes throughout the day which will also help to reduce your overall calorie intake.
Some studies indicate that eating high-protein foods such as eggs for breakfast reduces hunger and
decreases an individual’s calorie consumption at lunch.
3. Use a smaller plate
Christmas dinner is generally a buffet-style meal which means that your plate is barely visible under
that mountain of food! Instead of using a regular 12-inch dinner plate, serve yourself in a 9-inch
A study found that diners with small plates serve 52% less than diners with large plates and
they also eat 45% less. Eat your meal mindfully so that you are less tempted to go back for seconds.
4. Choose a tall thin glass
No Christmas celebration is complete without eggnog but a single cup of this delicious creamy drink
amounts to a whopping 250-350 calories. A simple way to reduce your intake is to use tall and
narrow glasses instead of short and squat ones.
Studies show that even experienced bartenders pour approximately 20% more into short glasses as compared to tall ones. Use only slender glasses throughout the season to cut back on your overall calorie intake and prevent Christmas weight gain.
5. Switch to reduced fat
Choose reduced fat foods, especially for spreads and salad dressings to reduce your calorie intake.
Choose foods labelled ‘light’ as these contain 1/3 rd fewer calories as compared to their regular
counterparts. For instance, one tablespoon of light mayo contains about 35 calories while the same
quantity of regular mayo contains approximately 100 calories. Similarly, you can use low fat cheese
and milk while preparing your meals and desserts.
6. Wait before grabbing seconds
After a meal, it takes approximately 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach to get
activated and signal to your brain that you are full. If you are still hungry after your first serving, wait
for at least 5-10 minutes before you head for seconds.
This will give your body the time it requires to send satiety signals to your brain and soon you will notice that you feel satisfied and don’t require another helping. According to the experts at What To Expect, this is just one of several tricks to help you feel full faster which will help to prevent weight gain.
7. Get sufficient sleep
Sleep and hunger may seem unrelated but scientists have found that there is a strong connection
between the two. One study found that insufficient sleep for even a single night can increase the
levels of ghrelin – the hunger hormone, which can lead to overeating. If you are cooking your holiday
meal, schedule your time so that you can wrap up early and get a good night’s sleep.
8. Exercise in the morning
It’s so warm and toasty under your blankets and the last thing you want to do is get out of your bed
to exercise. The cold weather is one of the most common reasons why people skip their daily
exercise routine in winter. It is better to exercise in the morning as researchers found that women
who work out in the morning move more during the rest of their day and are therefore less likely to
Despite your best efforts, you may still put on a little holiday weight but don’t let that get you down.
Instead, increase the length and intensity of your exercise routines and cut back on your intake of
high-calorie foods, especially fried junk food and colas. Make several small healthy changes to your
daily routine to help you reach your goal weight. Happy Holidays!