Worried About Holiday Weight Gain? Please Read This

Your feelings are valid, but WW’s nutrition experts say that shifting your focus during this time of year may be better for your overall wellbeing.
Published November 22, 2022

The holidays feel like one heck of a juggling act this year. No wonder 43 percent of us feel more stressed this holiday season than last year’s, according to a recent survey by OnePoll.

This end-of-year craze is nothing new, of course, and something many of us juggle every year is finding balance between wellness and food-centric holiday traditions. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to choose between losing weight and enjoying all that festive fare.

While we can’t help with that MIA gift, WW can ease holiday weight-gain stress with the WW program. It gives you the flexibility to commit to healthy habits and still compete in your MIL’s annual cookie bake-off—with a glass of eggnog in hand. We tapped WW’s science team for their top tips for setting yourself up for a fun holiday without losing sight of your health goals. Keep calm and party on.

1. Eat. The. Cheese.

Stuck in a mental tug-of-war between the cheese board and crudité? Go for what you actually want (ahem, the baked brie). “It’s easy to get caught up in making the ‘right’ food or drink choices, especially when surrounded by the treats you wouldn’t normally have,” says Angela Goscilo, a registered dietitian and WW’s Nutrition Manager. “But one meal will not make or break your journey. Allowing yourself to savor your favourites, without restriction or deprivation, will actually allow you to be more successful.”

That’s because swearing off the foods we love almost always backfires. In fact, research shows it can lead to cravings and overeating. So instead of avoiding eye contact with your grandma’s kiffles or your aunt’s famous boozy punch, go in with a plan. Think of what you’re most excited to eat or drink at your holiday gathering, then consider how much you want to have or how many Points® you’ll put toward it.

2. Don’t save all your Points for the main event.

Arriving at a party hungry and then seeing a smorgasbord of options is a perfect storm for overeating, says Michelle Cardel, PhD, a registered dietitian and WW’s Director of Global Clinical Research and Nutrition. “Eat breakfast, lunch, and a small snack beforehand, and use your ZeroPoint™ foods as the foundation of building your plates.”

3. Take a weight-loss time out.

No matter how your weekend pans out, remember this: The scale does not reflect your progress nor does it suggest you’re incapable of reaching your goals. Try not to stress over the number. In fact, now may be a good time to push the scale to the side for a week or two and focus on maintaining your weight instead of losing.

“Using this time to hit pause on your weight-loss efforts can actually be helpful as it shifts the focus of your journey,” says Goscilo. Sure, this isn’t as exciting as watching the pounds go down, but you can still find reason to rejoice by celebrating non-scale victories from the past year. Maybe you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, making time for a walk most mornings, and tracking daily in the WW app. If you are, chances are you’re feeling stronger and seeing a big difference in your energy levels—and that’s something to be thankful for.

Adds Cardel, “Another way to shift your perspective on the big picture during the holidays is to practice gratitude, which has been linked to decreased stress and anxiety and increased happiness and hope.” Holding steady through this time while enjoying yourself and remaining optimistic, especially in the midst of...everything? Well, now, that’s the ultimate juggling act.