How to Lose Weight During the Holidays

A woman squatting while holding a turkey. Illustrated by Regina Humphrey/ IG: regina_humphrey

We all know that holiday foods can be delicious but can be challenging for our bodies. Save some calories before taking some Thanksgiving stuffing. Let’s not forget about the dessert at the end. For some, it’s a delicacy to try new recipes from family members. For others, it’s a burden on people on diets and weight loss regimens. There are ways to find a loophole. Before, the holidays, prepare yourself for these heavy meals. Lee Journals lists how to lose weight during the holidays. 

Limit portion size

Practice lowering the number of calories you eat. By limiting your portion sizes, you can burn off food faster. You can start portions with the cereal you eat. People may pour ½ a cup more cereal than the usual food we use. First, pick a cereal that’s low in cholesterol. Cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats are heart-healthy examples. Second, pour 1 cup of cereal with half a cup of milk. Apply this routine when you eat dinner as well. Always think of your stomach intake.

Stay active to lose weight

Staying physically active is a simple way to maintain and lose weight for the holidays. Step outside every day and feel that fresh air! Before Thanksgiving, take a good walk, jog or run track. You can do casual errands to keep busy and keep burning off more calories. Do a 1-hour workout with cardio or strength training. Use a fitness app or Youtube as a good resource. Keep yourself motivated every day to do some exercise. With great effort, you can lose a few pounds.

Intermittent fasting

Fasting may have had some controversial opinions over the years but can be effective. Intermittent fasting takes strong mental control over people. It’s all about eating at a specific time rather than choosing what to eat. Fasting before the holidays may be a great benefit to people who are trying to lose weight. Why not burn fat before eating the whole feast? Choose a day or two to fast in-between meals. Neuroscientist Mark Mattson stated that humans go without food for hours or even several days. Eating lots of protein is a good energy source while you fast. Also, staying hydrated keeps your body system in check.

Limit dessert intake

While desserts are tempting to indulge in, keep in mind all your calories. Sometimes excessive sugar can increase weight gain. If you’re already full, don’t force yourself to eat cake. Choose lighter dessert options like chocolate and cookies as snacks. It’s better to be safe than sorry. This is important not just for diabetics, but for everyone. Some desserts may have too much sugar than others. So, keep in mind the calories included in each cake, pie, or danish. Make desserts that are low in sugar if you have people with medical conditions. 

Get Plenty of Sleep

Take advantage of daylight savings by sleeping more. We have extra sleeping time for a reason. Use the fall change as a good health source. You’ll not wake up refreshed, but see the food burned off well. Sleep deprivation may cause weight gain because you’re not burning off last night’s meal. Keep a consistent sleep schedule for eight hours or more. Set your alarm to wake up at your preferred time. If you wake up early to exercise, make sure that you’re well-rested. 

Final Thoughts

Remember losing weight is not just a physical challenge, but a mental one. Fasting is not required for people with eating disorders or anemia of any kind. Please consult your doctor for any additional questions you may have. Consider any medical conditions you have before trying specific workouts. Take any medical requirements with you if you need them. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself if you don’t see much change. Weight loss journeys take time, just believe in yourself. 

For more holiday-themed work read these healthy holiday recipes.


National Institute on Aging

Hopkins Medicine