16 Small Tweaks For Avoiding Weight Gain Over The Holidays

Let's not make January 1 any harder than it needs to be.

Christmas weight gain, holiday season
Image: Henrique Gendre for Vogue Brazil

The holidays bring some of our favourite things—the smell of fresh pine trees, Christmas carols, bold red lips and an excuse to don reindeer antlers. But this time of year also brings the dread of packing on extra weight. However, that fear doesn’t have to become a reality. Ahead, you’ll find a few simple tweaks that can help you stay in shape (or at least, the same shape!) over the Christmas party season. Keep scrolling!

Get more sleep

Quality sleep is integral for sculpting a lean body. A restful night of sleep allows for higher energy levels, lean muscle growth, decreased stress levels and wait for it…less cravings!
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Try interval training

Get more from your workout by trying interval training. Energy output during interval training is high, which means it helps to chew up your fuel (calories!) and increase your anabolic capacity (fitness). This involves a sprint (high intensity) and rest interval (low intensity). An example is a sprint for 60-90 seconds and a rest for 60-90 seconds before you go again.
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Use smaller plates

This is a trick sure, but it’s a trick that actually works. Simply dishing up the same meal on a smaller plate can help you consume 22% fewer calories, with the same amount of satisfaction. Apparently, it all comes down to an optical illusion—seeing all that extra space around our food on a big plate makes the brain think there’s less food on the plate!
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Try intermittent fasting

After a big meal, intermittent fasting for most of the following day can kickstart your metabolism, help your body stabilize it’s blood sugar levels, and encourage cellular repair and detoxification. It’s all good stuff!
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Eat your vegetables first

Because green vegetables are high in fiber, they can help you to feel full. “Filling your plate with more vegetables than any other food will help to ensure that you’re getting plenty of healthy fibre! The fibre will help to fill you up while also providing a nice array of healing vitamins and minerals,” explains nutritionist and Instagram influencer Cassy Joy Garcia.
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Drink more water

Yes, it’s every model’s favorite beauty trick, but drinking more water really does help, particularly if you’re also drinking alcohol. Dehydration can happen when we’re indulging in cocktails or wine and can lead to a false sense of hunger. Staying hydrated can help with satiation.
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Eat prunes

There are plenty of benefits associated with eating prunes — they have even recently been shown to improve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and even aid in weight loss for men and women in one small study as well.
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Go for a short walk

After your meal, go for a relaxing stroll around your neighborhood. This light physical activity after eating stimulates your GLUT4 receptors responsible for transporting glucose, which in term makes your muscles absorb more of the glucose you just ate. This can stop insulin from spiking and keep you feeling fuller and energized for longer.
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Eat crunchier foods

Yes, seriously! A recent study suggests that simply hearing to yourself chew crunchy foods can help you moderate the amount that you eat. And no, that’s not a good reason to start snacking on potato chips.
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Cut back on salt

Yes, too much salt is bad for you, people. In fact, it’s one of the most common lifestyle causes of water retention — so if you don’t want to hold onto extra water weight over the holidays, cut back on packaged and processed foods.
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Alleviate bloating with yoga

Practicing yoga is like a gentle massage for the body, targeting your organs and increasing circulation, which works to removes toxins that can contribute to bloating.
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Chew your food more

Slow down! Chewing your food is a simple way to lose weight without even changing your diet. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to register that it’s full, so by taking your time with each bite, you’re allowing your appetite time to catch up with your mouth. One recent study worked out that people who chewed each mouthful 40 times lost 12 percent more fat than participants who only chewed each bite 15 times.
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Photograph your food

Finally, an excuse to ‘gram before you eat! A new study found that taking photos of our food is more effective than simply recording what we eat in a food diary. Free apps like YouFood make it easy to keep accountable.
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Pump iron

If you’re currently focusing on cardio at the gym, integrate a little more weight training into your routine. When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—discovered that all groups dropped 21 pounds. Interestingly, the weight-lifting group lost an impressive six more pounds of fat than the other two. This is because the lifters almost entirely burned pure fat, but the others dropped a combination of muscle and fat.
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Eat fat

The wellness industry has done a total 180 on fat in the past few years, and we now know that it can actually aid in weight loss. Research even backs it up—one study shows that women who eat high-fat dairy were eight percent less likely to become overweight or obese than those loyal to low-fat.
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Stop weighing yourself

Your weight can fluctuate depending on your fluid intake and the time of day, so obsessing over a number on the scales isn’t going to do you any favors—particularly if you’re indulging in some holiday eating and drinking right now. “One of my top tips is to avoid the scale and use your pants as a guide to your weight,” says Jessica Levinson, R.D., told Women’s Health.
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