Holiday Weight Gain Myths, Debunked

‘Tis that time of year friends: holiday time.

Now, for the most part, the holidays are a beautiful time, filled with family, gifts, and winter coziness.

However … there is one thing that tends to put some of us on edge about the holidays, especially if we’re in the fitness sphere or just started a training and diet regime.

Holiday foods.

Appetizers, meals complete with every rich dish on the planet, followed by several choices of desserts. Yep. It’s truly enough to scare the daylights out of people who are terrified they will gain tons of “holiday weight.”

But what if we told you that you actually don’t need to worry as much as you think?

Dive in with us as we debunk the most common holidays weight gain myths.

Holiday Weight Gain Myths, Debunked

1. Going Up A Jean Size After The Holidays Is Inevitable

It’s highly likely that you’ve seen or heard stories of people gaining a lot of weight after the holidays. However, try to think back to the amount of people you know personally that gained a lot of weight – not someone on TV, social media, or online who is attempting to sell information, products, or programs on how to avoid gaining weight!

The truth is, this is the time of year we’re typically bombarded with ads related to weight gain and the holidays, so naturally we begin to believe that all this fear must be for a reason: we’re going to gain tons of weight.

In reality, unless you are eating several thousand calories over your maintenance level for consecutive days and/or weeks, the weight “gain” you see after a few holiday meals is likely due to inflammation, bloating, and water retention due to the high fat, salt, and carb content of rich dishes.

These will naturally fall off once you’re back to your regular programming, but it may take a few days, so don’t panic!

As long as you’re eating meals with mindful indulgences (not excessive binges or days of over-the-top indulgences), you have no reason to fear enjoying a couple holiday feasts.

2. Replacing Traditional Favorites With Healthy Alternatives

Disclaimer: we 100% agree with making your traditional holiday favorites with healthier, quality ingredients; however, doing so doesn’t automatically mean you won’t gain weight (even if it’s water weight!).

An easy mindset to slip into when we make “healthier” alternatives of our favorites is that “Hey, it’s healthy, why not have seconds, or thirds?”

Of course, we’re down for indulgences, especially if they’re healthy, but just know that this mindset can actually cause you to eat more calories during holiday meals. Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain calories, or energy, which in excess cause weight gain.

Just keep a mindful mindset, regardless if you’ve baked a “clean” pumpkin pie or are indulging in a traditional naughty slice!

3. You Must Detox After The Holidays

This idea is pretty common, and is advertised a lot in the media.

“After the holiday weight gain, our best bet is to jump right into a juice cleanse or fast, to quickly rid ourselves of that extra layer.”

Now, again: there is nothing wrong with getting back to eating super clean and even “detoxing” post-holiday feasts. With that being said though, going too extreme and diving straight into a juice or other fast can easily set you up for binging and crazy cravings, not to mention raise your stress levels due to worrying about “losing the weight quickly.”

At the end of the day, any diet for weight loss should be focused on sustainability, as most crash diets provide results that don’t last.

Our advice? Eat a little cleaner than normal, and even “detox” with a few green juices and herbal remedies, but don’t panic and feel like you have to. Drink more water, work up a sweat, and give your body time to flush out water weight and inflammation.

4. Working Out More Can Counteract Holiday Weight Gain

This isn’t necessarily a “myth,” since theoretically you can burn more calories by working out more.

The thing is is that it’s highly unlikely workouts are going to totally negate over-indulgence. Sure, working out during the holidays can counterbalance your calorie intake, but it won’t make much of a difference if you decide to overindulge “because you worked out harder.”

Similar to eating more healthy desserts because they’re “healthy,” this approach can backfire and cause you to allow yourself to eat even more than you would normally.

We’d advise simply sticking to your routine during the holidays as much as possible, and perhaps adding in walks and fun physical activities when you’re with family.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the holidays are supposed to be a beautiful time … not a hectic two months of worrying about your weight every day. Remember to simply be mindful, indulge a little, avoid binging, and try to relax. If you practice this, it’s unlikely you’ll see much, if any, gain over the holidays.


If you want to dive deeper into nutrition, get in touch with us for personalized nutrition coaching:

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