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Readers Respond: How do you avoid holiday weight gain with exercise?

Responses: 14


Updated November 25, 2008

A little weight gain over the holidays is something many of us struggle with. There's so much great food to tempt us and so little time to exercise, but I know many of my healthy readers have found ways to avoid weight gain. Help us keep our waistlines in check this year by sharing your tips for avoiding holiday weight gain.

Holiday fat fight plan

I've actually started a plan I call 'Kickers Week'. It's a given that people will overeat; can't deny it. So, forewarned is forearmed. Starting this week (2 weeks before Christmas), I've upped my exercise regimen significantly. I've gone from exercise 3 days a week to 5, and running at least 15 miles a week. It's challenging, but it gives me an extra defecit, so if I do/did overeat, I've got calories to burn (literally). Additionally, if I miss a session or tone down the run, I'm essentially doing my regular workout, so I sike myself out. What helped me is printing out a schedule and writing in a plan of when I will exercise and how much; I don't follow it to the letter, but it definitely helps.
—Guest Esteban

Don't save the left overs.

If you host a large gathering, make sure friends and family take home the left over pies, ice cream, deserts, alcohol etc. One day of binge eating you can survive with moderate exercising. If you keep the left overs and binge eat for several days, which is very easy to do, it will pack on the pounds no matter how much you work out. Throw the left overs away if you have to.

prevent holiday weight gain

1. Drink water instead of soda or alcohol 2. Sit away from the buffet table 3. Take only one medium plate of food, containing a small serving of each item 4. Eat very slowly, relish the taste of each item 5. Converse with guests while eating 6. Absolutely no second helping 7. No skipping gym/exercise routine, even on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Fortunately my gym is open half a day on both these holidays. 8. Skip eating holiday cookies and cakes 9. Never make high-calorie holiday food for others either - Followed these rules, never gained weight during holiday season. Felt good too - no guilty feeling, no hangover.
—Guest borisboy

avoiding holiday weight gain

You don't need to gain extra weight during the holidays: When you have to eat your meal (s), just take a comfortable portion of each the different foods-& don't 'gorge' on the portions: when you get full, stop eating! DON'T go back for seconds, you'll be sorry you did! If you can, do go for a walk. Continue to count your calories if on a diet, you will be rewarded every day.
—Guest Lynda Appelt

Holiday Weight Gain

I don't. I know that's not what you expected to hear when it negates the question asked, but I don't avoid holiday weight gain with exercise. I either prepare before or diet after. Either way I'm always exercising though. Usually it's diet after, but if I can lose about 2-3 lbs before mid-December, I'm good to go. I usually gain about 3 lbs during the holidays...and love every second of it...LOL! Really, it's more that I'm allowing myself to indulge during the last 3 weeks in December and probably the 1st week in January. Then, I get back to my routine. This is really getting back to my lifestyle. It feels good to get back into the swing of things too and it's what I'm used to. I wouldn't, couldn't live with a lifestyle around my holiday eating habits...GROSS! Too much food and sweets. I think that it's okay to be indulgent now and then, but to be glutenous all the time...that's just sick and very unhealthy. Go ahead, indulge now and then and don't beat yourself up.
—Guest Heidi


Don't go food shopping when your hungry, and write a shopping list before and stick to it! And, any high calorie foods such as chocolate or chips need to be justified - why you need them? Also plan meals in advance so you don't end up buying stuff you don't need! (probably saves money this way too!) =)
—Guest Lizzie babes

housework and exercise

good!You more than likely tidy up your house every day, sometimes more. Combine strength training workouts with this chore. Sweep the kitchen, lift the weight, empty the trash, twenty wall pushups, and so forth. It kills two birds with one stone and because time is often a factor, you find yourself going faster which helps with cardio as well.
—Guest punctual

Run before Bedtime

Go for a quick brisk run about thirty minutes before you go to bed, this is a refreshing way to end the day and it keeps your metabolism working as you sleep. This is great for losing those few extra pounds!
—Guest Kyle Wilk

Take a long walk

I try to make sure I block out at least an hour to take a walk on days when I'm cooking a big dinner. I enjoy the food more if I've gotten out for some fresh air and I'm getting some exercise so I don't have to feel so guilty about the calories. It may not help me lose weight, but at least it minimizes the chances I will gain weight.
—Guest SusanH

Healthy Snack

Eat a healthy snack before a big holiday party. it will help to control the craving and over eating.
—Guest Sadhna Murthy

Portions and power shopping

I try to load my plate up with the less bad for you holiday foods, like plain green beans and white meat. Then just get a small portion of the more fattening foods so I get the taste of the food and don't feel deprived. If I feel deprived, that's when I sneak into the kitchen and eat a whole pie! Also, I try to power walk (as much as possible) in the mall while shopping. Dodging all the meandering families is almost like playing the old Galaga video game in real life!
—Guest Angela

Load up on protein

If you expect to be in an all day eating frenzy, try to start off with high protein items. You'll feel full sooner and long and your metabolism will appreciate it.
—Guest David


Eat smaller portions and go back for seconds instead of piling your plate full two times. Eat a variety of foods. Limit your desserts – instead, try sampling a few with very small portions instead of sampling 1 of everything; especially if there are 6 or more desserts. Lighten up and enjoy the big food day with a conscious effort to avoid over-indulging.
—Guest LISA W

housework and exercise

You more than likely tidy up your house every day, sometimes more. Combine strength training workouts with this chore. Sweep the kitchen, lift the weight, empty the trash, twenty wall pushups, and so forth. It kills two birds with one stone and because time is often a factor, you find yourself going faster which helps with cardio as well.
—Guest evan1231

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