Can You Really Avoid Gaining Weight Over the Holidays? Yes!

metal weight labeled "11 lbs" with a red gift bow on it

The average person gains 11 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s!

When fall and winter come around, so do the holidays – a time for happiness, but also a time for stress. Not all methods for coping with holiday stress are healthy!

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all offer ample opportunities for parties, and for unhealthy sweets and other holiday treats that can slow you down on the path to fitness.

In fact, the average person gains 11 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s!

Don’t let yourself fall completely off track from your fitness goals — these are my favorite tips for staying healthy and still enjoying yourself during the holidays! 


  • Log your food to keep track of exactly what you’re eating — as I like to say, “When you log it, you lose it!” Having proof of what you’ve already eaten that day (or that week) right in front of you can help you maintain good food habits.
  • Avoid too many sugary desserts! Holiday recipes for many popular cookies, cakes, pies, and more do not skimp on the sugars and fats. This goes hand in hand with my next tip…
  • Make low-fat and low-calorie versions of your favorite holiday foods! This is especially helpful if you’ve agreed to bring something to your next family dinner — you want it to be something you can feel good about eating. Look up healthier recipes of your favorite holiday dishes and treats that are lower in fats, carbs, and calories, and higher in good nutrients like fiber and protein. You may be surprised what substitutions you can make!
  • Get your steps/exercise in! Keep moving this season to keep your metabolism in check — the good part of being busy with holiday plans is that it offers lots of reasons to get moving. A step tracker or other type of fitness and activity monitor can help you with this. Plus, it’s always a great idea to make time for you by sticking with your favorite fitness classes! It’ll give you a chance to de-stress and get away from the hustle and bustle for a bit. 
  • Pace yourself when drinking — alcohol is higher in calories than you think! For every alcoholic drink you have, have a glass of water immediately after. This will help you feel fuller sooner, and it’s simply a safer habit to get into. You’ll be happier the morning after too, since proper hydration reduces hangovers! Plus, the less intoxicated you are, the easier it will be to…
  • Make wise choices. There are always opportunities to take the healthier option — or make one. At a party with lots of sweet treats? Go for the fruits and veggies first! Going out shopping? Park farther away from the stores! Waiting for food to finish cooking? Pass the time with some squats, stretches, or stair-climbing!

Don’t feel defeated when the time for making New Year’s resolutions comes around. Stick to these tips and you’ll be in a better, happier place for the New Year!


Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

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