How do I Lose Holiday Weight?

wiseGEEK Writer

To lose holiday weight is really no different than to lose weight in general. The only difference is holiday weight is usually gained in a shorter period of time, generally due to overindulgence and the inability to get proper exercise during the holiday season. If people were maintaining a good weight before this period, it may only be necessary to resume a healthier diet and regular exercise program, with a minor reduction in daily calories and/or increased exercise. Those who weren’t exercising or pursuing a healthy diet before the holidays may need to change diet and fitness regimens.

Mulled wine can have quite a few calories, so it's best to drink it in moderation.
Mulled wine can have quite a few calories, so it's best to drink it in moderation.

No magic bullet exists for weight loss, and diet and exercise are still the main ways people are able to lose holiday weight. For best results, combine the two. Plenty of reputable dietary websites suggest people best lose holiday weight by consuming fewer calories than they need. Most doctors don’t recommend diets with under 1200 calories for women or 1500 for men because an extreme calorie reduction may slow metabolism and halt weight loss. Instead, people are encouraged to create diets that meet the calorie requirements above, and that consist mostly of lean protein, dietary fiber, plenty of fruits and vegetables, with few high fats or sugars.

Drinking eight glasses of water daily may help shed excess holiday pounds.
Drinking eight glasses of water daily may help shed excess holiday pounds.

The other half of losing holiday weight is getting exercise that helps burn calories more quickly and increases burn rate. Exercise doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but it should raise heart rate and be considered “aerobic.” Even a brisk walk daily meets this requirement and helps lose holiday weight.

For best results, an hourly walk daily is most effective. At minimum, people should try for exercise at least four days a week or every other day. Those who don’t have a full hour’s time can break walks into two half-hour walks or three 20-minute walks. There’s been some recent research suggesting two exercise periods a day are effective and may be easier for people with tight schedules.

Another help to losing holiday weight is making sure that people discontinue holiday habits like overeating. The first few weeks of transitioning to healthier eating patterns may be the most difficult, and people may feel hungry because they’ve routinely indulged. Some hunger is tamed by drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day. Drinking just before eating a meal, and at any time hunger appears may help, and as the body readjusts to a more moderate diet, the sensation of hunger diminishes. Regular water consumption can also help lose holiday weight caused by water retention.

With a return to healthy eating and exercise habits most people are able to lose holiday weight. This does take work, which should hopefully not be undone when the next “eating season” rolls around. Ultimately, it’s always better not to gain the weight than to lose it, and people should plan holidays more carefully in the future so they can continue to pursue smart diet and exercise choices.

No magic bullet exists for weight loss, and diet and exercise are still the main ways people are able to lose holiday weight.
No magic bullet exists for weight loss, and diet and exercise are still the main ways people are able to lose holiday weight.

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