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Holiday weight gain? Tips on staying fit and healthy this Christmas

Christmas is a festive time with loads of parties and foods, but it can also be the season to still be fit.



Christmas is the merriest time of the year: there’s plenty of gift-giving, parties, and of course, food. While it’s inevitable that some people may gain weight before the New Year comes around, there are still ways on how to stay fit and healthy throughout the holidays.

Holiday weight gain: Fact or fiction?

According to a 2016 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, there is proof that the holidays can add a few pounds on the scale. Using data from wireless scales, researchers studied the daily weight change of 2,924 participants from the United States, Germany, and Japan. The findings indicate that in all three countries, participants’ weight rose within 10 days after Christmas Day compared to 10 days before Christmas.

In addition, significant weight gain was observed around major holidays in those countries. During Japan’s Golden Week, 0.3% of people gained weight, while in Germany, the Easter holiday saw a 0.2% rise in weight gain and 0.2% in the United States over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The research study indicated that in all three prosperous countries, weight gain typically happens over the holidays. Researchers advised patients that while half of the holiday weight gain is lost after the holidays, half of the weight retains until the summer months.

Christmas dinner

A study detailed that the weight of its participants increased within the 10 days following Christmas. (Source)

What is to blame for holiday weight gain?

A sedentary lifestyle and not getting enough exercise will not help if you take in more calories than you should. Later on, if this type of lifestyle is followed, obesity can soon take over, and it can have detrimental effects on health.

According to a piece published by The Huffington Post, there are four reasons why people tend to gain weight over the holidays. First on the list is schedule changes due to parties and longer days off which can throw off your chances for a good night’s sleep. Second, stress increases during the holidays due to pressures such as shopping, family obligations, and changes to your routine. Third, with so much food around at parties and gatherings, it’s hard to say no to a bite or more of cookies, snacks, and more. Fourth, the colder temperatures during the season will entice people to stay indoors and completely ignore getting some exercise.

Stay fit and healthy as you welcome 2018

It is never too late to start living a fit and healthy lifestyle, and the best time to do it is now. If you’re about to indulge in the holiday feast, remember these simple tips to keep you stay on track.

Be realistic and consistent

Set realistic goals and stick with it. If you plan to spend an hour at the gym, stick to it and think to yourself that one hour is better than nothing.

Phone a friend when it comes to food or activity

To add more motivation, ask a friend who is willing to go on a diet for help. This way, you can both be accountable for what you eat or when you exercise.

Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym (if you don’t enjoy it)

Make exercising fun. Stick to things you find enjoyable and interesting, such as walking around your neighborhood, trying out a new sport like wall climbing, or training to join a marathon.


An hour at the gym with a friend is always better than no time there. (Source)

Try being conscious of what you eat

The mindful eating method means paying attention to what you are eating at the moment. Appreciating the food’s physical attributes and its aroma and then slowly eating while being in the moment will help you to enjoy smaller amounts of food. Later, you can replace these high-calorie foods with healthier options such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Avoid skipping meals

Missing meals throughout the day this can lead to more overeating. Don’t think that “saving up” on calories is effective; instead eat small portions of food or snacks during the day, with a preference for high fiber food.

Say yes to treats but in moderate quantities

Don’t deprive yourself of the holiday treats. Eat and take everything in moderation. One trick to do this is by using a smaller plate when dining out.

Don’t forget healthy foods

Do include nutrient-rich foods in your diet. These can include green leafy vegetables, asparagus, green beans, and other healthy options that are available at your party.

If you have a chance to move, take it

Include physical activity in your day. For instance, if you have the opportunity to take the stairs instead of taking an elevator, go for it. Extend the extra effort to get moving.

Water, water, water

Take in plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps to flush out all the toxins in your body.

By following these easy tips, it’s not hard to stay fit and healthy even when the holidays bombard us with parties, food and more. In addition to this, prioritizing health can yield very favorable benefits to the mind and body, plus, you will feel a lot better too as you welcome 2018.

Suzanne Mitchell juggles the busy life of a full-time mom and entrepreneur while also being a writer-at-large for several business publications. Her work mostly covers the financial sector, including traditional and alternative investing. She shares reports and analyses on the real estate, fintech and cryptocurrency markets. She also likes to write about the health and biotech industry, in particular its intersection with clean water and cannabis. It is one of her goals to always share things of interest to women who want to make their mark in the world.