Holidays are a time for joy, connecting with loved ones, and well, eating lots of food. As notorious as the holiday season is for spending time with family, it’s equally notorious for adding an inch or two to your waistline.
At least, this is conventional wisdom. It’s entirely possible to lose or maintain your weight around the holidays (though you may be wondering how to slim down).
The answer: all you need is the right frame of mind and some useful tips you can adhere to!
Why Do I Always Gain Weight Around The Holidays?
There’s no one specific answer to this question, but chances are you’re eating too many calories.
Did you know one pound of body-fat is equal to 3,500 calories? That means if you ate 500 more calories per day than your body required for one week, you would gain a pound of body-fat (at least, in theory; there are other factors at play).
Let’s be honest and say that many of us eat more than 500 extra calories per day around the holidays. So while there is no one definitive answer, it’s likely that you’re eating too much.
How Do I Lose Weight?
We’ll look at tips in a second, but the best way to lose weight is to focus on methods that allow you to sustain that weight loss. Crash course dieting and other unhealthy methods set you up to gain all the weight you lost right back when you go off the program.
You might consider a weight loss clinic. Or, just follow these 6 tips.
1. Exercise (Or Just Walk)
Movement of any type is going to help you maintain or lose weight fast before the holidays. We’ll talk about gyms and training partners in a second, but for now, just accept the fact that quick weight loss is probably going to require some physical activity.
The same calorie principle from earlier applies here: if you burn 500 calories per day for a week, you could lose up to a pound of body-fat. That might whet your appetite enough to help you get started.
2. Practice Portion Control
You’ve likely heard that portion control, or limiting how much food you eat, is the key to weight loss long-term. This is because your body is going to store any extra calories you eat as fat and use what you give it for energy in the meantime.
Ways you can practice eating smaller meals include:
- Meal prepping
- Counting macronutrients or calories (use an app like MyMacros+ for this)
- Ordering meals at restaurants and only eating half (split it into two meals)
Good nutrition isn’t just about what you eat, but how much. Eat less and you’ll lose weight.
3. Get An Accountability Partner
After you’ve committed to exercising and eating less food before the holidays, the next step is finding someone to join you. Whether your spouse, a neighbor, or even your kids come to the gym with you, you’ll be far more likely to lose weight if you have an accountability partner.
Accountability partners help you stay motivated and committed to the things you say you’re going to do. Trust us: you’ll be far less likely to skip the gym or eat something unhealthy at 10pm if you know you’ll have to cancel or share this information with your partner.
4. Pick A Workout Routine
You don’t need a gym membership to lose weight before the holidays roll around, though it might help. There are plenty of workout routines you can find online for free or for less than the cost of a gym membership.
The key to picking your workout routine is choosing something you genuinely like. Whether that’s yoga, lifting weights, Pilates, or something else, you don’t want to feel like going to the gym or doing your session is a chore.
If it’s already the fall season and you’re scrambling to lose some pounds, you’re playing with a short time to begin with. Missing workouts won’t help you lose the weight.
5. Try Intermittent Fasting
If you need to lose a lot of weight quickly, you can try intermittent fasting, or eating your meals in a condensed window of time each day. There are several approaches to IF, but the most popular is the 16/8 schedule, where you eat all your meals in an 8-hour window (i.e. from noon to 8pm) then fast for the next 16 hours. (Basically, you skip breakfast.)
Intermittent fasting is a proven way to lose weight. Although you might be hungry in the mornings at first, your body will get used to it. Plus you can drink coffee or tea to help get you through the morning.
6. Cut Carbs
Low-carb diets are hugely popular this day. Mostly, because they work. When you restrict your body of glucose, your body is forced to used stored fat for energy. At first, it might take a bit to get adjusted—you may even get a headache or two—but most low-carb people say they actually feel better after a while.
Even if eating low carb isn’t something you want to do forever, you can plan to do it for the 6-8 weeks leading up to the holidays and then switch to something else.
How To Slim Down During Holidays: Wrapped Up
When it comes to how to slim down around the holidays, the key is to adopt habits that you can adhere to and that help you cut calories. Chances are you aren’t planning on restricting calories or making any of these more drastic lifestyle changes beyond the holidays. So going low-carb or intermittent fasting shouldn’t be a big deal for a couple of weeks.
Use these 6 fitness tips to help you get in shape around the holidays. We know you can do it!