3 Foolproof Tips to Stay Slim during the Holiday Season

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Image via Wikipedia

The holidays are here and so begins the onslaught of foods and tasty treats. Party after party is serving up snacks, pastries and drinks that are sure to get that waistline bulging. It doesn’t take long to do damage to everything you’ve worked so hard to keep in check all year as those fat cells are sitting there rubbing their grubby palms together in anticipation of extra calories to store.

Last year, I had a personal training client tell me that it was the first year in her life that she didn’t put on weight during the holidays. She awarded me the credit, but the credit belongs to her for following some simple rules during the holiday season. Now I’m here to share a few of the same tips that I gave her during the daunting holiday food festival.

Tip #1:

Stay Active. People have a tendency to become less active during the holiday season, skipping the gym for parties and other gatherings. In many parts of the world it’s cold and so people tend to move around a lot less and I know it can be difficult to leave the house with the objective of going to the gym. I know first hand what it’s like as my winter in Seoul, South Korea was the harshest of my life. Try getting up at 6am in the morning to walk just 150 meters to a gym in the cold. It took me the entire hour spent at the gym just to get warm. Believe me I feel your pain, but you gotta make it happen. You would leave the house to go to that Christmas party so hit the road to the gym. One idea is to couple the gym with other things like, on the way home from work or on the way to work (you’re outside anyway).  Whatever you do during the holidays it’s a must to stay active and burn those calories.

Tip #2

Never show up hungry. Showing up to a party hungry is a recipe for disaster. It’s no different than heading to the grocery store hungry. When you go to the grocery store hungry you tend to buy more and shop with your stomach and taste buds, not your reasonable, rational brain. The same thing happens when you arrive at a party. You’re on an empty stomach snacking away in large quantities waiting the main courses and those calories just keep adding up. Not to mention the food choices at the party are not the healthiest, most low calorie options. Think about this…Many people will go to a party thinking I’ll just starved myself all day  to save room for tonight’s party.  What you don’t realize is that not only are you killing your metabolism by restricting calories (which your brain recognizes as a stress and immediate tells your body to begin storage of calories because we may not get any). Then when you finally have that meal, your body says I better store some of this because who knows when this joker is going to put more fuel in.  Combine that with the fact that you’ll probably consume a minimum of 3000 plus calories at a party and you’ve turned your body into a fat storage machine.

Tip #3

Limit or Eliminate Alcohol. This is a tough one for some people. I honestly don’t get it though. Whenever someone says they “need” alcohol to enjoy themselves I have to wonder if this is not borderline addiction. How difficult is it for a person to eliminate a toxin from their list of things to consume? Apparently quite difficult. Here’s the thing…have you ever decided to have a sober night and watch everyone else that drinks? My life changed dramatically when I was 25 years old and I declared to all of my friends that I would not drink alcohol that year. Each time we went out I saw the party completely different. I saw the stumbling, the spilling, the small things that become big things and start fights and disagreements. At the time I only looked at alcohol consumption from this perspective.

But since we’re talking about weight and body fat control over the holidays and not safety, I have to tell you that cutting out alcohol can be the single most positive thing you can do for your waistline and body fat. Alcohol disrupts your body’s metabolism. Your body is on high alert and is trying to flush these toxins from your body…so much so that it sets priority to rid your body of alcohol. This means excess calories are stored while your body attempts to deal with waist removal. Not only that, but you tend to eat more junk when intoxicated, double dipping on the metabolism. So push away the liquor this holiday season.

There are many more strategies to maintaining your waistline during the holidays, but start with these and when January comes around you’ll be glad you did.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

3 Responses to 3 Foolproof Tips to Stay Slim during the Holiday Season

  1. Lauren says:

    This is great – three simple tips that *should be* easy to follow!

  2. Pingback: Sugar Free Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday Solutions for Diabetics « Bangkok Personal Trainer

  3. Alena says:

    Thanks Rich. These are wonderful tips and I for one am in need of them.

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