*Disclaimer* This How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain post is just for educational and entertainment purposes only. I am not a doctor or weight loss expert, this is just what I do to not gain weight during the holidays. If you were going to implement any of these tips, you would have to adjust them to your body type and lifestyle because everyone is different. It is not a one size fits all method.
If you want to read my backstory on How I lost 35 lbs in 4 Months Without Trying to Lose Weight, click here. That is what inspired this post. I lost 35 lbs last summer, and I have not gained a single pound back. That means I went through 3 holiday gatherings without gaining weight, which is something many people worry about when it comes to the holidays. And no, I did not deprive myself of any goodies.
Let's Go Over Holiday Weight Gain Facts:
- The body you have now might not be the same body you have 6 months from now. Whether that be a healthier body or an unhealthier body, the holiday meals are probably not going to be that big of a factor. Whether you eat an extra 2,000 calories in one meal on thanksgiving or not, that is still not enough to even gain a pound, since 3,500 extra calories would equal one pound. With that being said, there is no need to put stress on yourself about your image right after thanksgiving. You may see the numbers on the scale go up right away, but in a week they most likely will go down.
- "If I do gain weight, is holiday weight gain temporary?" The average person only gains about 1 lb from the holiday season. It is pretty easy to get rid of that one pound in 2 weeks if you just reduced your calorie intake by 250 calories a day for 2 weeks. 250 calories are not that much, so I would consider that pretty temporary. Also, the number on the scale is not everything. It is how you feel is what really matters. Gaining that 1 lb is probably not going to make you feel any different.
- People mistake bloating from eating too much in a short period of time for automatic weight gain. It most likely is not going to stick around, but being bloated at Thanksgiving or on any other holiday does not feel good.
Holiday Bloated Stomach
People generally overeat around the holidays to the point in which they bloat. It is just a sign that someone overate, ate too many foods that cause gas, etc. There is a multitude of reasons someone could bloat though. If you want to read more about that, click here.
The most common reason for bloating around the holidays is overeating. Being bloated does not feel good, and if you are already self-conscious about your image, it could make you feel even worse about yourself at that moment.
Remember, bloat does go away though. The only reason it wouldn't go away is if you are overeating every meal like I did my freshman year of college grazing that dining hall food like a fullfed feeder calf.
In reality, a feeder calf would have gained more weight. But for perspective, in the 122ish days of that semester, I overate by about 60,000 calories to gain the 17 pounds I did (or at least that is what my math tells me).
Chances are, from Thanksgiving to New Year's this year, you are not going to overeat by that many tens of thousands of calories. Plus it took me an entire semester to gain that much weight. The holiday season is not that long.
How to Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain and Bloat
I know there are so many delicious cookies and pies during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you want to have them all. There is a way to have them all without the bloat.
Tip #1 Cut down how much you eat at the main meal
I only took 1 spoonful of everything I wanted to eat out of the main dishes first, before eating pie.
So one piece of chicken, one deviled egg, one spoonful of cranberry sauce, one spoonful of stuffing, one spoonful of green beans, one spoonful of mashed potatoes, etc. I took only a spoonful of each one I wanted because I was prepping for the pie later. You can even do this with more than one spoonful, the purpose is to not load your plate full of everything just because it is there.
You can do this method with whatever food item you want to eat an excessive amount. If you want to eat a lot of mashed potatoes, then just cut down on the amount of turkey, stuffing, and pie you get so you can eat a little more than a serving of mashed potatoes, but not feel extremely bloated later since you are not heaping your plate full of everything.
Try to only eat one plate of food too if you feel plenty full after the first one. Or take breaks and space out your plates so your body has time to digest. If you are still hungry right away after the first plate, then of course go back for seconds. Listen to your body for what it needs.
Tip #2 Cut Down on Dessert Size if Eating More Than One
All you get out of eating desserts is the taste; they do not have much of any nutritional value.
I took 5 pieces of pie (one from every pie) last thanksgiving. It was more than just a bite of pie but less than a normal-sized piece.
I did not gain any weight back, and I barely bloated because I prepared for the pie (step 1), and only ate a little of each pie.
It is one thing if you overeat and know you will feel okay afterward. It is another to overeat and not feel okay afterward. If you know you are not going to feel okay afterward but still want pie, cut down on the size of pie, or take a break before eating the pie and return to it when you are hungry.
Tip #3 Eat a Smaller Breakfast
Another tip is to not eat two biscuits for breakfast and then go try and stuff yourself at thanksgiving lunch.
As a kid, I always did this. Every year, I could not figure out why I was so full for thanksgiving lunch.
In retrospect, I know that eating two biscuits is way too many biscuits to be hungry in time for lunch. As an adult, now I eat a small breakfast (such as a granola bar) before driving to Thanksgiving lunch.
This way I have something to tide me over on the car ride, and I am still hungry in time for the meal.
If trying to apply my biscuit story to your life, find something to tide you over until the holiday meal, but do not over do it.
Tip #4 Cut Down on Grazing as You Cook
Obviously, I run a cooking blog so I do cook quite a bit for thanksgiving, and I do taste tests as I go along. Sometimes I find myself eating too many pinwheels and other appetizers as I make them though.
I decided to chew gum to prevent mindless eating. I hate when food tastes like gum so I think it works pretty well.
Obviously, you should always taste test as you go along though. I do spit out my gum and drink water to get the gum taste out of my mouth to taste test.
Do not be like me and forget the cinnamon in snickerdoodle cookies. I did not taste test and then sent them to thanksgiving without cinnamon!
Just eat enough to taste test since eating as you go along can lead to calories adding up quickly. If you only taste test when need to, this will leave you still hungry for when your guests arrive and your meal is to be served.
Tip #5 Keep Up Exercising
It can be easy to forget your exercise routine around the holidays, especially when you spend so much time on your feet in the kitchen. The last thing I want to do is spend more time on my feet.
However, by keeping your exercise routine up, you are ensuring that you are still burning off any extra calories you gain. Traveling for the holidays makes exercising kind of hard, but by at least getting some extra movement in a day, your body will thank you for later.
Switch up your exercise routine by doing a different type of exercise to make it more fun.
Tip #6 Listen to YOUR Body, and Not What Someone Else's Body Needs
Everyone needs different amounts of food.
If Aunt Ruth eats only one plate of food, but you know you feel fine eating more than one plate of food, then eat the two plates of food. Aunt Ruth's body might need less food, but that does not mean you need less food if you do need more food.
This also works vice versa. If Uncle Joe is saying you need more food after your first plate but you feel like you can't do another plate while he is on his 4th plate and swallowing the chicken bones whole, it is important to remember his body is not your body. He does not know what your body needs because he is not you.
Your bodies both need different amounts of food. It can be easy to compare yourself to others while eating a meal with them. But it is important to remember that we are all unique in our own way. Everyone has different metabolisms, exercise routines, and food preferences.
Conclusion of avoid holiday weight gain,
I hope you enjoyed my natural no weight gain tips and ways to reduce bloat for this upcoming holiday season.
Holidays may look a bit different this year due to COVID, but if there are fewer people at your holiday gatherings this year and the same amount of food, this may cause some people to eat more than in other years.
This blog post was just to give you ideas on how to reduce bloat over the holiday season. I am by no means an expert, but these 6 tips are what I am going to be doing this holiday season, and I hope they inspire you too.
Even if you do not implement these tips and feel like you gained a whole bunch of weight this holiday season, scroll up to the holiday weight gain facts at the beginning of this post.
Most likely you did not gain that much weight even if you did happen gain weight. Plus, the number on the scale is not everything. How you feel is what really matters.
If you liked these simple no weight gain tips, share with your friends! Scroll to the bottom, and leave a comment below! If you want to know how I lost 35 lbs in 3 months, click here.