Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Top 3 Weight-Gaining Mistakes to Avoid During Holidays

By Nicole Yamanaka on Dec 13 2010 • Filed under Health

Standing on a scale

It’s here! No matter what festive season you celebrate, there is no denying the arrival of the holidays, from fast approaching deadlines, ongoing parties, visiting families and friends…and the food!

Are you simply praying that this year will be different?

MISTAKE #1: Poor diet (over two weeks or more)

Cakes, turkey, stuffing, sweets, chocolates at the office; it never ends. Even in my office (and I’m a trainer!) our loving clients give us chocolates and nuts and cookies and more! We all have obligations to attend functions and when the food is abundant, you’ll be tempted to snack 24/7. Did you know the average weight gained over the holiday season is 7lbs? Ouch. That’s 24,500 calories, or about five hours on the stair climber.

Avoid falling into this trap with a few simple rules:

Don’t ever go hungry – preplan your meals and snacks the night before. This will help keep you from grabbing a carb/sugar or fat-heavy snack on the run or as a meal. The stabilized blood sugar from regular meals will keep you focused and your willpower "strong like bull."

Drink lots of WATER – sometimes thirst is misinterpreted by the body as hunger. Keep lots of fresh cool water on hand and drink up. Having a glass before, during and after meals will help keep your cravings at bay.

Skip the booze – alcohol never goes out of season. Sure, maybe your aunt May only makes her special Christmas shortbread once a year so enjoy that (a little). But if you MUST sin, use your calories well and pass on the alcohol. The average glass of wine can range from 85 – 200 calories. So if you’re enjoying three extra glasses of wine each party AND enjoying your shortbread, you can consume up to 700 EXTRA calories that day. Someone get the stair climber warmed and oiled up!

MISTAKE #2: Put themselves last (wait, is this a holiday thing?)

Do you find the holidays stressful? Sure it’s a happy time of the year but it’s a LOT to handle sometimes. I find most of my clients feel like the holidays are difficult to really enjoy because of the commitments they make to OTHERS. Not only is stress bad for your mental health and ability to keep sane in front of the in-laws, but adrenal burnout and other stress hormones are bad for your midsection and wardrobe.

Here’s how to handle this:

Plan – You need your downtime. You wouldn’t run your kids or staff 24/7, so why do you do it to yourself? It is important for you to regenerate, rest and get renewed. That way you can really show up as a cool, calm and collected leader of your team and your household and blaze through this month.

Schedule appointments with yourself – Okay, you’ve planned your downtime, now schedule it in and DO NOT MOVE THIS APPOINTMENT. Period. Tell others that you are not available during this time, it’s an important meeting, and that they need to pick another time.

Ask for help – Without you, there is no business, no head chef, lead party planner etc. So the people that are leaning on you NEED to support you. Recruit everyone you know to help you stay on track to take breaks, eat healthy and share some of the responsibility. No one wants to see you burned out (more) so ask. Before you scoff – have you asked specific for help? Try it.

MISTAKE #3: Skipped activity

Why do you work out? To lose weight? Gain strength? Maybe it’s for the great feeling you get afterwards, working out your frustrations and feeling calmer. These reasons do not disappear over the holidays, in fact, it is even more important that you recognize that this need MUST be met.

Here’s how to keep the calorie burning machine in great working order:

Schedule activity EVERY DAY. If it’s yoga you love, or a spinning class or duking it out with your personal trainer, make your schedule and stick to it. Keep burning those calories because no doubt, you’re going to have a drink with your aunt May’s shortbread, aren’t you?

Three "Anytime" Exercises

No gym no problem! Ah ha! No more excuses because I’m going to give you three exercises you can do ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.

  1. Modified pushup. Start by lying face down. Place your hands under your shoulders and keep your abs tight. Perform a pushup from your knees and do as many as you can (beginners, aim for 8 – 12 reps and one or two sets). Progression: do the pushup from your toes.

  2. Ab crunches. Start by lying on your back, knees bent to 90 degrees. With your arms across your chest, exhale, curl your shoulders off the floor and pull your bellybutton in. Hold for a second and slowly lower back to the floor and repeat.

  3. Squats. If you can sit down and stand up from a chair, you can do squats! Start by sitting comfortably in a solid chair (without wheels) and place your feet about a foot apart. Without using your arms to swing or momentum to complete the movement, stand up. That is your basic squat. Now, keep your abs tight, good posture and repeat, but without the chair. If you’re advanced, hold some weight (your pets, a heavy Christmas gift, etc.) for 15 – 20 reps and two to three sets.

Avoid the pitfalls that 90% of busy professional women make. Follow the secrets of the 10% that don’t gain weight: solidify your nutrition plan, put yourself first and continue your workouts – no excuses!

You are amazing, you can do it and THIS YEAR, you’re going to start 2011 as that woman everyone envies, right?


  1. Nicole (Nik) one of these days I will be going to your facility.. But for now I can do the 3 anytime exercises! Way to put it in language I can understand (you know us men, not the brightest creatures..) and I will certainly be able to fit these into my day. Now to get the wife doing the exercises right beside me, will be the best. 🙂 So we can both be healthier and fitter, over time, than we are now. Certainly makes the holidays a reason to be cheery! We’re gonna be fab (not flab) when January comes around!!

    Thanks Nik!!


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