How “Dieting” During Holidays Might Backfire and What to do Instead

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It’s a good idea to try and eat as healthy as possible and fit in fitness during the holiday season. Just think of all the indulgences, like eggnog or pecan pie, and the social obligations, whether in a small gathering or virtual, you need to attend that are centered around holiday foods and more sedentary habits.

Plus, if your schedule is busy, it can be hard to stay motivated in the gym—especially when the temperatures drop and you just want to snuggle up indoors in comfy clothes with Netflix.

Yet, you may want to focus more so on maintaining your weight and keeping healthy habits, like eating clean foods for the most part as well as keeping a fitness routine, as opposed to dropping the pounds. This isn’t the time to try and slim up but rather to just adapt good habits that will keep you well during the holidays and prevent overindulging or weight gain, which can surely happen!

Here are a few reasons why “dieting” can backfire, so release that pressure!

You’ll Feel Deprived

If you love grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or look forward to a spiked peppermint mocha for a delicious holiday coffee treat to help yourself wake up on gloomy mornings, then you don’t want to skimp on those treats because you’re dieting. You’ll feel deprived, and this can in turn cause you to ditch healthy eating altogether and overindulge.

Just think of moderation—have one slice of the pie and don’t eat that holiday sugar cookie with it. And don’t go with the peppermint mocha every morning—make it a Sunday morning treat and have plain, unsweetened coffee (with no whip!) for the other days of the week.


It’s Basically Impossible

Let’s be real—most people do gain a pound or two (or more!) during the holiday season due to travel, festivities, and those delicious holiday treats you look forward to every year. And with Covid running amok, there’s even more reasons to stay indoors and decrease physical activity.

So, while you can prevent those pounds by keeping track of what you’re eating and how active you are, it’s nearly impossible to lose weight during this time. Don’t set yourself up for failure! You’ll just feel defeated and might gain weight instead. Mitigate your intake and be aware of what you last ate if you’re hell bent on ensuring a healthier holiday season. Journaling can help and it’s as simple as putting a note in your phone.

You May Miss Out on Festivities and Companionship

If you are too set on losing weight, you may choose to not partake in specific holiday activities where unhealthy food and drinks, or temptations, may be involved. And you could then miss out on making memories with loved ones.

Don’t exclude yourself and lose sight of the real meaning of the holidays: to feel gratitude and enjoy life with the people around you. If you are dieting, food may override the good spirits of the holidays and leave you feeling bare. Instead, bring a healthier recipe to a gathering or practice moderation, choosing a favorite eat over a bunch of ones, or letting yourself pick and choose between booze or dessert, for example.

And shape your mindset—mingle with others and spend time safely bonding with friends and family. You can even suggest an active activity, like a nature hike or some over-the-internet games like charades that get you moving!