8 ways to avoid excess holiday weight

Once Thanksgiving arrives, a very common concern among countless adults is weight gain over the coming weeks.

From the end of November and throughout the entire month of December and into January, the holiday season brings about endless parties and festivities rich in “binge” food and drinks.

In the spirit of the season, many partake.

But many might not, perhaps wanting to avoid the bottomless empty calories associated with many of the holiday treats and sweets.

How much weight do we gain during the holidays?

Reports vary on just how much weight people gain while on the holiday party circuit.

The amount of weight gained depends on the person, how many gatherings they attend and how much (and what) they eat.

Some reports suggest it could be seven to 10 pounds, but survey respondents report that it could be as little as one single pound and as much as five pounds.

Holiday weight management

Realizing that it’s a difficult time for many, Stephanie Auch, coordinator for the Bariatric Surgery Institute at McLaren Macomb, with years of experience in weight management, offers her advice for this holiday season.

Be active

“This doesn’t mean being aerobically active or spending hours at the gym, but more of avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity.”

Be mindful of snacks

“There will be plenty of cookies and other sweets within arm’s length at celebrations. Don’t feel obligated to partake just because the snacks are there. If it’s available, reach for some fruit or assorted veggies, especially if you’re hungry and searching for something substantial.”

Portion control

“Don’t overload your plate. Take only the little that you need, or help yourself out by grabbing the smallest plate available to you.”


“This might seem odd, but a lack of sleep, which can be common around the holidays, can affect your hormone levels and metabolism and add frustrating weight.”

Keep meals balanced

“Every meal should feature a protein. A lot of holiday gatherings feature carb-heavy dishes that can be low in protein, which helps you feel full and is very helpful in weight management. Fiber is another food group that makes you feel full.”

Liquid calories

“Many calories will be hidden in your drinks, be it a cocktail or soda. These are loaded with sugar and empty calories and can even increase your appetite. Know how many calories you’re putting in your body via your drink and put a limit on that intake.”

Come prepared

“If the party food might be too challenging, come prepared with your own snacks high in protein, low in fat and sugar. Politely explain to the host that you’re being conscious about your weight, and do yourself a favor by surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends who will help keep you focused.”

Weigh yourself, but don’t sweat it

“If you’re concerned about weight gain through the holidays, track yourself. Regularly weigh in and see if you are gaining weight and need to adjust accordingly. But remember that weight loss and management is a journey, not a sprint – don’t beat yourself up if you can’t totally avoid it.”

How can I lose weight after the holidays?

If when the new year arrives and you still find yourself with a few added pounds that you would rather not have, there are effective ways to get rid of it.

First, Auch says, “Have compassion for yourself and avoid beating yourself up.”

You don’t have to lose the weight all at once. Think long-term and set goals. Then, with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regimen in mind, create a plan that will help you accomplish those goals.