It’s a guaranteed fact that most of us will experience some holiday weight gain at least once in our lives. This is especially true if those holidays happen during the cold winter months. You’re moving slower because of the cold, and when you get together with your friends and family, it’s hard to say “no” to festive food.
However, most of us regret eating too much over the holidays. While it can be difficult to keep your diet under control, it is possible to avoid weight gain over the holidays with the help of technology.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Use DrinkControl to Control Your Alcohol Intake
One area we don’t always consider when we’re looking for ways to maintain our weight is the hidden cost of alcohol. You might not think about the calories in alcohol on a day-to-day basis. You might not realize that you’ll be consuming more of them over the holidays by default.
To keep these calories under control, it’s best to use a weight loss app like DrinkControl. Through the app, you can:
- Count the calories in each beverage you consume.
- Track the cost of drinking itself.
They say it takes a few weeks to start building a habit. So prior to the holidays, our recommendation is to install the app and try it out. See if you like it.
Get into the habit of logging your drink before you drink it, so you have a clear memory of what you’re consuming. That way you’ll be well-prepared to track the habit long-term.
The only downside to this app? Looks like it’s only available for iOS. Android users are out of luck.
Download: DrinkControl for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
2. Use the Weight Loss App Lose It!
One of the most common things that people recommend for keeping track of your diet is using a weight-loss tracker. There are a lot of apps on the market, so essentially you just have to choose the one that’s right for you.
An app that we love to use during the holidays is Lose It! It’s a weight loss tracker for Android and iOS that has a free and premium plan available. The free plan has enough features and it should work fine for what you need.
On the free plan, you can:
- Input your starting weight, plus your desired weight.
- Lose It! will calculate how many calories you’re allowed per day, in order to meet that goal.
- From there, you can log what you eat for each meal of the day.
- Lose It! will also identify healthy food patterns that keep your weight under control.
Additionally, it will give you a breakdown of the percentage of what type of nutrients you’re consuming—fat, carbs, and protein.
Our advice: Use this app over the holidays to see what foods will cost you the most calories. From there, you can adjust your other meals so that your daily calorie intake remains within limits. Lose It! is a perfect Christmas weight loss tracker.
3. Meal Plans
One of the most helpful things that we’ve found for staying healthy during the holidays is the use of meal plans.
A meal plan is pretty simple:
- Once a week, sit down and plan out what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Next, make larger-than-normal quantities of these meals, so you can feed yourself leftovers and cut back on your time in the kitchen.
This careful portion control can stop you from scrambling for a meal last minute in the fridge. It can also prevent you from binging on unhealthy alternatives. The exact same principles can be applied to the food that you eat for festive occasions, too.
Additionally, you can also use apps and websites like Mealime to help you avoid holiday weight gain.
While the holidays are already partially planned in terms of meals for you and your family, you can take this planning further. Let’s say as part of your meals that you want to eat Christmas cookies every day.
By working cookies into your meal plans, you can calculate how much they’ll cost you in terms of calories. Then you can add the other items into your meals to accommodate these cookies accordingly.
If you’re looking for ways to figure out what to eat, here are the best meal planning apps and websites to save money.
4. Find a Holiday Food Blog or Website
Another way that you can keep your weight in check—and plan better meals—is by finding a food blog that will give you ideas about what to cook for the holidays.
There are lots of amazing food blogs out there, some of which we’ve already documented on the best baking recipe websites.
Through sites like these, you can map out each week what you’ll be cooking, all while keeping the holiday spirit.
If you’re not cooking, you can possibly suggest some of these recipes to your host. Extra help in the kitchen is always nice, and Christmas weight loss is achievable.
5. Try Some Winter Exercises
You may think that the holidays are a terrible time for exercise, especially if you live in a colder climate where you get snow during the winter months. However, winter exercises can be turned into a fun group activity that not only keeps you in shape but helps you bond with family and friends as well.
If you’re in a cold climate with lots of snow, activities like snowboarding, skiing, or tubing are great exercises to do as a group.
If you’re trying to save money, something as simple as a family walk will help you work off some of those extra calories you’ll be eating.
6. Have a Reward System in Place
A big way that you can avoid holiday weight gain and stick to your diet is by having a reward system in place for hitting specific weight or health-related goals.
I utilize this system myself, and while these rewards aren’t food-based, I do pick things that bring me joy. You should also pick something that you can look forward to once the hard part of dieting is over.
For example: If you manage to stick to your weight goal over the holidays, buy something for yourself on Boxing Day. If you want to save money and you already subscribe to a streaming service, take the time to sit down and watch a new show on Netflix or Disney+.
Sometimes a lazy weekend is all you need to feel good about yourself.
7. Keep Your Goals Manageable
Lastly—while it’s totally reasonable to avoid weight gain over the holidays—losing weight may be a bit far-fetched. You don’t want to push yourself so hard that you’re not enjoying yourself, or get to the point where you’re thinking about anything other than relaxing.
After all, if you manage to stick to a moderate goal without feeling miserable, that will work better for you in the long run. Good feelings and moderate success can create great feelings and further success long term.
Our advice: Keep your goals manageable and understand that you’ll need to plan better for this special occasion. Pick up your full habits once you’re back to your normal routine.
Avoid Holiday Binge-Eating and Have Fun
The holidays are a great time to be with friends and family; to get the most out of good food and have a good life without worrying about your weight. Technology is there to help.
But what if you’re looking to eat healthier year-round, and not just on the holidays? Here are some good vegetarian and vegan apps to try out.