How to maintain your weight during the holidays

carving the turkey

The holiday season can be a hectic time of year. With so many friends and family members to visit, parties to attend, gifts to buy, and dishes to prepare, it can be hard to find the time to maintain our usual routines. People often over-indulge at events that often center around sharing food together.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of rich eggnog or snacking on a frosted cookie, it can be easy to go overboard this time of year, causing you to pack on the pounds and diminish your health. Add in the struggle to find time for workouts and you could find yourself leaving Grandma’s house with more than your annual holiday sweater.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, however! Follow these simple tips so you can enjoy all the treats and festivities of the season without undoing all the hard work you’ve put into getting and staying in shape.

1. Snack in moderation
No need to feel guilty if you want to enjoy some special seasonal treats this time of year. After all, you need food to survive, and a single candy cane isn’t going to create irreversible damage to your body. You don’t start running into trouble in the food department until you make a habit out of eating lots of nutrient-deficient, calorie-laden foods all season long.

That’s why it’s so important to practice moderation with your holiday treats. If you want to enjoy your mother’s famous Christmas morning French toast, then have a light salad for lunch and avoid the cookie tray afterward. If you’re eyeing a slice of pumpkin pie for dessert, don’t have a second helping of ham at dinner. Be conscientious of what you’re having and don’t just mindlessly snack on whatever appetizer happens to be on display at the time.

Don’t forget that you don’t just eat your calories, either. Mulled wine, eggnog, hot chocolate and your other favorite holiday drinks can add up quickly, and you often don’t even realize how much you’re indulging when you’re sipping your sweets instead of eating them.

It's okay to indulge in holiday sweets, so long as you don't go overboard. It’s okay to indulge in holiday sweets, so long as you don’t go overboard.

2.  Don’t skip meals
You may find it tempting to skip out on breakfast and just eat extra at dinner instead, but this habit can be disastrous for both your health, and your waistline. According to, skipping meals can mess with your metabolism, so your body won’t process foods as well later on. It can also make you feel hungrier than you may actually be, causing you to eat too much too fast and end up taking in more calories than you would have if you’d started the day with a small breakfast and had a little treat later on.

Still plan for three to five small meals a day with occasional light snacks in between to keep your body feeling satiated. Remind yourself to build your meals around heart-healthy fruits and vegetables with occasional treats, not meals centered around simple carbs and sugars.

3. Find the time to exercise
When you’re schedule is packed tight with errands and activities, you may feel like you don’t even have time to think about the gym, letting alone actually getting down there. Besides, when you’re out visiting relatives or have company staying with you, it’s hard to tear yourself away for the evening.

“Invite everyone to participate in a workout together.”

Fortunately, finding the time to get a workout in is easier than we think it is. Instead of driving around the mall parking lot, ready to fight another shopper for that perfect spot opening up in the front, park far away on purpose to get those extra steps in. Follow this tip from Fitness Magazine and set your alarm early to get a quick workout in before you even leave your bedroom. If you can’t fit in your full circuit training routine, just take a few minutes in the day to squeeze in some jumping jacks, burpees or pushups to help burn a few extra calories and keep your blood flowing.

Get the rest of the family involved and go for a walk through the neighborhood to look at people’s holiday displays. Play active games that require you to move around, or sign up for a holiday-themed 5k. You don’t have to choose between your workout or time with your out-of-state siblings. Invite everyone to participate in a workout together to have the best of both worlds.

4. Sign up for Coolsculpting® from Ideal Image
Even with the best intentions, sometimes our weight maintenance plans just don’t pan out quite right. If you find yourself holding onto some extra weight after the holidays and you’re struggling to get it back off, come in to your local Ideal Image for a free Coolsculpting® consultation. This non-surgical weight loss procedure can help you get back on track without a long recovery period, allowing you to start the new year in your best shape yet!