15 Holiday Weight-Loss Tips from People Who’ve Lost 50+ Pounds

Brittany Risher
by Brittany Risher
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15 Holiday Weight-Loss Tips from People Who’ve Lost 50+ Pounds

It’s not hard to find weight-loss advice from experts — especially this time of year — but sometimes you wonder, ‘Have they ever been in my shoes?’ Not to discredit their knowledge, but their advice can occasionally seem a little obvious or, worse, unrealistic. (It’s easy to forego goopy green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, but cauliflower mash instead of potatoes? Are they crazy?)

These tips come from members of our MyFitnessPal community who’ve successfully lost 50 pounds or more — and have maintained it. Their tricks are tried-and-true for sticking to healthy goals during the holidays.

1. HEALTHIFY SOME DISHES — BUT NOT ALL OF THEM

Since she does the cooking for holidays, Sheridan makes some dishes traditionally and makes lighter versions of others. “This way all the flavors are there that make the holidays more of an occasion,” she says. (It’s not Thanksgiving without her mother’s stuffing!) Down about 83 pounds, she also makes mini versions of desserts so it’s easier to have a tiny taste of pie rather than a huge slice.

2. GUESSTIMATE BEFOREHAND

“Enter what you think you might eat for Thanksgiving or Christmas in MyFitnessPal ahead of time so you get an idea of calories and macros. Then adjust accordingly,” suggests Audrey Misikin, who has lost 57 pounds and counting.

3. HAVE A MANTRA

“I repeat to myself, ‘I didn’t come this far just to come this far,’” says Kimberly Cooper Metcalf, who has lost 109 pounds with this mentality. Having a mantra keeps you focused on your goal.

4. EXERCISE BEFORE — AND/OR AFTER

Down 243 pounds, Brooke McDavitt likes to schedule a fitness-related event around the holiday, such as a turkey trot with the whole family. “Medals are a great motivator for my family,” she says. “We’re Star Wars nerds and have collected the Jedi Academy series. I’m so proud that my husband, sister-in-law and daughters join me now.”

After a holiday meal, Koreena Keller Ralston, a member of the 100+ weight-loss club, says there’s no better way to burn off extra calories than a walk or ride on your bike to look at Christmas lights. But staying in motion doesn’t apply only to the “big days.” Ashley Marsh, who has lost 90 pounds, walks or rides her bike before holiday parties, too.

5. EAT WHAT YOU’LL BE DISAPPOINTED YOU MISSED

“If I’m at a party and there are holiday cookies, I allow myself to pick my absolute favorite one or two as a treat. I think of the ones that I know I would be sad that I deprived myself of and I eat just one of each,” Marsh says. By indulging a little, it’s easier to feel satisfied.


READ MORE > 5 MUST-HAVE KITCHEN GADGETS FOR WEIGHT LOSS


6. … OR EAT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

If you go this route, put two-bite portions on your plate. “People look at me like I’m nuts, but I want to enjoy the delicious food without overindulging,” says Sky Sloderbeck, who has lost 120 pounds so far. This prevents feeling deprived while also keeping calories in check.

7. LOG EVERYTHING, TOO

Erin Franklin, who has maintained a 70-pound weight loss says “it’s better to know, and odds are good that you haven’t messed up as badly as you think you have. When you don’t log, it’s easy to get into the mindset of ‘It doesn’t count’ or ‘I’ve already messed up, I might as well have another cookie/drink/piece of pie.’” When you log it — even if you go over every day during the holidays — you’re holding yourself accountable, and there’s an element of mindfulness that makes it easier to get back on track.

8. OBEY YOUR SATIETY CUES

“If you notice you’re feeling full before you finish your plate, toss it so you don’t overeat,” says Jim Harrison, who’s lost 72 pounds sticking to this approach over the past year.

9. DRESS UP

“Wear clothing that doesn’t allow for overeating. Ditch the comfy sweatpants and go for the jeans that become uncomfortable when you have too much,” McDavitt says.

10. PACK SNACKS

“Always keep healthy snacks with you everywhere you go. They are lifesavers!” says Katilin-Philip Jones, who has lost 52 pounds.

11. BRING A HEALTHY SIDE

“I bring something that fits my needs,” says Matt Park, who has lost 65 pounds so far. “Invariably someone will ask how I lost the weight, and it allows me to practice what I preach and possibly encourage someone else along their path.”

12. EAT HEALTHY AT HOME

Evening meals at the holidays typically don’t have the healthiest options, so Franklin makes sure her breakfast and lunch are on track. That way you have a few “wins” for the day.

13. MAKE HOLIDAYS YOUR CHEAT DAYS

Now 120 pounds lighter, Chico Cheek uses Thanksgiving and Christmas Day as that week’s cheat day. “The key is keep it to that day and not the whole week,” he says. “One day won’t reverse months of progress. In my opinion, constant denial of treats does more harm and can permanently wreck weight loss.”

14. SIGN UP FOR A 2018 RACE

Sheridan found that signing up for half marathons helps keep her on track. “The one I’m about to sign up for in February will be a nice incentive to remain active during the holidays,” she says.

15. DON’T SWEAT IT

Sure, Alisha Price only eats treats that are really special and only in moderation. But if the scale moves a little, no biggie, she says. “I didn’t lose [200 pounds] in a day. I’m not going to gain it all back in a day either. Enjoy life while balancing out your choices,” she says.

Have you celebrated a weight-loss victory? What are your tips for maintaining it?

About the Author

Brittany Risher
Brittany Risher

Brittany is a writer, editor and digital strategist specializing in health and lifestyle content. She loves experimenting with new vegan recipes and believes hummus is a food group. To stay sane from working too hard, she turns to yoga, strength training, meditation and scotch. Connect with her on TwitterInstagram, and Google+.

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7 responses to “15 Holiday Weight-Loss Tips from People Who’ve Lost 50+ Pounds”

  1. Avatar Mary Huiatt says:

    Wonderful suggestions from people who have been there!

  2. Avatar Linda Cullender says:

    I’ve lost 70 lbs(and maintained the loss) in the last 17 months thru very restricted calories, homemade chicken bone broth, yoga and weighing myself every single day.I record he number(even if I dob’t like it) in my iPhone. I’m 65 years old and feel like a rock star! I’ve never weighed this low and love being slim and healthier.

  3. Avatar Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami says:

    All very good tips! I have found yummy baking substitutes, so I can still enjoy cookie baking with my friends and daughters. Other than that, I have scheduled regular exercise throughout the holiday season, whether YouTube videos at home or taking a month long Groupon at a local gym to lift heavy.

    Never had issues with weight gain over the holidays- even after losing 100 pounds in 2002.

  4. Avatar Janice Jones says:

    Holidays don’t worry me as my tastebuds and preferences have changed so much
    Sweets don’t do it for me anymore so I will have a taste off my husbands plate and I will however take a couple of sides to enjoy and they are the “heathy ones” and always go first go figure
    55 kg loss maintained for 8 years

  5. Avatar Marilee Jikey says:

    I love the mantra idea. Mine is “Am I really hungry or is my mind fooling me so that I will feel better?” I’m down about 30 lbs so far. xo Mari

  6. 80 pounds gone here 🙂 My best advice is that of Michael Pollan. “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.” The first part was most helpful when initially switched from a heavily processed diet to high quality food. The middle part was most important once I lost the weight but still struggled with my diet portions and I was eventually able to learn to eat until satisfied instead of until full. The final part is when I switched to a vegetarian diet eating mostly plants 🙂

  7. Avatar Randee says:

    I don’t weigh myself. I leave it up to my doctor once a year or my bod pod analysis a few times a year.
    I keep a daily log of my food, planning my meals the evening or morning before.
    I go to Overeaters Anonymous weekly meetings and have a sponsor to check-in with regularly about my food plan and my life related to overeating behaviors. I eat a food plan I got from a nutritionist that omits the foods I am overly sensitive/allergic but has plenty of delicious options. I don’t miss the foods that were a problem, I enjoy the foods I love to eat, now that I am recovered from compulsive overeating. I have lost 105 pounds from my top weight in 2001.

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