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Christmas doesn’t mean automatic weight gain, and here’s why you should change your attitude towards it.

For anyone with eating disorders/disordered eating or anxieties about their body shape/weight, Christmas and New Year can be a pretty stressful time. There is lots of talk about ‘holiday weight gain’ followed by talk of weight loss resolutions everywhere you turn, making you even more aware of your diet and body.

With articles and social media posts about mad weight gain and ‘burning the excess calories’ all over the internet and magazines, it is easy to overestimate how much extra we have eaten than usual. Although you may consume slightly more– a mince pie here and there, a few extra glasses (or bottles..) of wine, and some obligatory chocolates, it is unlikely that you are eating enough of a calorie surplus to gain the few kilograms you think you might gain. Fat gain requires a fairly long-term period of eating in a calorie surplus, not just a few days over Christmas. Remember, to gain one pound you need to eat a calorie SURPLUS of 3,500kcals.. that’s 3,500 calories over your maintenance amount (roughly 600-1000 calories a day extra for a week).

You may however experience bloating due to eating more carbs and salty foods than usual (e.g. those delicious roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings). Bloating will make your clothes feel tighter and have you feeling heavy and sluggish, but you haven’t actually gained any fat and as soon as you go back to your normal eating pattern you should feel much better. Make sure you keep hydrated (with water!) throughout the holiday as this may help reduce your bloating.

The fear you may have about weight gain over the holiday may also lead to you gaining weight which you wouldn’t have done in the first place. For some people, feeling like you have ‘indulged’ can trigger urges to over-eat or binge – an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset. If this sounds like you, it’s important to reassess how you view the food you are eating. If you have subconsciously labelled it as ‘bad’ or ‘off limits outside of Christmas/celebrations’, eating it may create this feeling of guilt or anxiety. Try to think of all foods as acceptable in moderation and remember that no food by itself can make you ‘fat’.

Having said all this – if you do gain weight there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You have celebrated with family, and enjoyed some well needed down time after a stressful year. Weight fluctuates, and spending time with loved ones is far more important than the number on the scales.

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We have all been there, we train so hard to lose weight for our summer holiday and when we land all sense seems to go out the window.

We over indulge, we move less, we drink more and end up coming home more tanned but much bigger than the day we arrived.

Then we start to regret what we did a little; we lose motivation to train as the urgent goal you trained for was achieved. You go back to old habits and by Christmas you realise you are right back where you started 12 months ago.

It’s a viscous cycle that we see all the time and it can be hard to break the mould, change your habits and create new goals to see you through the rest of the year.


When it comes to your summer holiday –


I am not saying you have to eat clean.

I am not saying you have to keep dieting.

I am not saying you have to hit the gym 4 times a week.

I am not saying you can’t have a cocktail or 2.

I am not saying you can’t eat out and live a little.


Holidays are meant to be enjoyed!


What I am saying is that maybe you can do it different this year.


Do want to change your lifestyle and holiday habits, come home happy, healthy and still leaner than you normally would??

Do you want to come home rested, tanned and motivated to continue your health and fitness journey?


Some suggestions for you


  1. If you are all inclusive – Don’t over-do it at breakfast or lunch. Stick to what you would normally eat and avoid a fry up every day.
  2. Save your calories for the evening meal out and drinks – by eating less at breakfast and lunch you can afford to indulge more at night.
  3. Go for a morning walk 30-60 mins – either before or after breakfast.
  4. Go for an evening walk 30-60 mins – a great way to boost steps if you have been sitting by the pool or at the beach all day.
  5. Do a 20-30 min training session – if you have a gym or any space a quick body weight workout can help keep you active, increase your total daily energy expenditure, and keep you motivated. See our holiday workouts on the Fitness Hub 21 YouTube page.
  6. Be sensible – keep in mind how hard you worked to get where you are and make food choices that are smart but allow you to enjoy your holiday. E.g. do you really need ice cream and cocktails every day?
  7. Set a goal for your health and fitness before you leave – So often we fail to set a goal post holiday around our exercise and health.



Before you set off on your trip maybe you could set yourself a few goals for the holiday to keep you accountable and on track.


Goals such as

To be sensible while you are away – be mindful but still have a good time.

To train 3 times a week 20-30 min sessions.

To walk every day morning or evening.

To pick lower calorie alcohol options.

To save your calories for the evening meal.



Before you leave can I suggest that you make some goals around your training for when you get back. The biggest thing I see post-holiday is members not returning to training and going back to their old habits. By Christmas they find themselves back where they started and wishing they had of stuck with it.

Health and fitness are a journey and while it is good to have more urgent goals like a wedding or a holiday; you have to see the bigger picture and start planning for where you want to be next summer.

The best way to set these goals is to find a place to train that makes fitness fun but effective. That has a great community of people just like you that you can share the journey with. A place that provides support and structure that allows you to improve and get the results you want.


So, enjoy your holiday, have fun, laugh a lot, don’t get too burnt and come back ready to continue what you started.

If you want to know more about how you can get started on our 30 day trial contact Lisa