Small “Cheats” During the Holidays Can Add Up to Large Weight Gain


It’s that time of year again. As a personal trainer I see it over and over where people go to complete abandon and I don’t see them again until it is 2 months later and 10 pounds heavier. Part of the struggle of weight loss is navigating through times of year when weight loss can be difficult.

One of the largest problems I see  year after year during the holiday that contributes to weight gain during the holidays is the constant justification of little cheats.  The actually holidays are only a few days a year and yet people seem to treat the whole six week period as a way to cheat.  I think we all can agree that a few days of not watching what we put on our mouths will not affect weight very much.  However, six weeks of this behavior can really add up.

Years ago I gave a presentation on how easy it is to go through the day and sabotage your weight loss plan without thinking about it too much.  I am going to go over some of these things so we can take a look at how easy it is to lose track.




6:30 am


  • While baking cookies for my child’s class,  I notice that one of the cookies broke.  Well…  I HAVE gotten up early to bake these before going to work so I deserve a reward!
  • TOTAL: 60 calories (probably more but let’s be conservative)




  • Oh look, Sandra brought homemade peanut brittle to work today and wants me to try some.  I don’t want to offend her so I will only have one small piece
  • TOTAL: 80 calories


12:00 pm


  • I need to pick up a party platter as I promised my friend I would bring a plate to her party.  Oh look… they are offering samples.  I will have just a tiny bit till I can eat my lunch.
  • TOTAL: 40 calories


12:15 pm


  • I decide to pick up a healthy salad at whole foods while I am there.  Wow, that specialty flavored coffee sample they are handing out looks good.  I will try one of them.  What could it hurt?
  • TOTAL : 20 calories


2:00 pm


  • Someone put chocolate covered cherries in the break room.  I forgot my healthy snack today so I will just eat one.  That small of calories won’t make a difference.  I would have had a healthy snack this afternoon anyway.
  • TOTAL: 60 calories


6:00 pm


  • My friend’s party is great!  Maybe I should move away from the snack table thought.  I am dipping my third chip in the dip.  That was good of me to do that.
  • TOTAL: 55 calories


7:00 pm


  • Is that homemade eggnog?  When was the last time I had that?  I think I will try a little bit.
  • TOTAL: 160 calories


7:30 pm

TASTE #8  

  • There is a tiny bit of candied sweet potatoes left.  I am a sucker for sweet potatoes.  It’s just a tiny amount.
  • TOTAL: 80 calories


8:30 pm


  • They are serving dessert.  I know I shouldn’t deprive myself as I will just want it more.  I’ll just take a heaping tablespoon of the peppermint ice cream instead of a large amount.  That way I don’t ruin my weight loss.
  • TOTAL: 80 calories


THE PROBLEM IS:  That is 635 EXTRA CALORIES  I just consumed today.  If such “tiny tastes” are continued through the holidays that can add up to 5 pounds or more weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  Then if you add in the 3 days of extra consumption at the holiday meals, you may be looking at a 7 to 10 pound weight gain.

Even if you only do a couple of these things a day, it can still lead up to an extra couple of pounds during the holiday.

Think of the holidays as a true test of your lifestyle change.  This is a time to see how committed you are to making a lifestyle change.  People who keep there weights down  tend to be able to show more restraint during the holidays.  Just remember, sometimes you need to worry about the smaller stuff  throughout the holiday season instead of the three days of actual celebration!




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