a lot of delicious festive cupcakes displayed on a table

I love the holidays and festival season. It comes with so much happiness and excitement! From decorating the house, wearing new clothes to spending time with loved ones. It’s perfect!

And of course, all the mouth-watering food. It’s like living in paradise! *Drools*

But when you have fitness goals, all this temptation around doesn’t help. It can get challenging to enjoy the holidays without getting anxious about gaining weight.

Okay, so how do you stay on track during the holiday season? And how do you avoid the holiday weight gain?

There are 2 steps to nailing your fitness goals:

Step 1: Setting a weight management goal for the holiday season 

Step 2: 7 Health tips to achieve your goals 

How to take control and stay on track over the holidays

Festivals are all about eating and meeting people. And many of us associate food with happiness and celebration. I know I do! Somehow for me, “if I am not eating, I’m not enjoying”. 🙄 

The fact of the matter is that a lot of people feel this way. And rightfully so. The food is part of the celebration. This internal emotional conflict leads to a lot of unwanted holiday stress and weight gain. 

Okay. So now what! Do you pick between enjoying yourself (along with your favourite foods) and trying to be healthy? Does it have to be either-or? Or can you do both – indulge a little and still continue on your fitness path?

You certainly have a few options on the table, and the whole point of this article is to lay out the pros and cons of them. By the end of it, you’ll be able to decide exactly what you want. his will help remove the unwanted anxiety and give you the clarity to enjoy the holidays guilt-free. 

Step 1: Setting a weight management goal for the holiday season

It’s important to first decide your goal for the holidays before we get to the actionable tactics and tips. Once you get this part right, you can customize each of the tips mentioned later to suit your needs. And don’t worry, this isn’t some super complicated introspective exercise.

I have laid out the goals along with their pros and cons. Do pay close attention to the cons of each to select the most appropriate goal for yourself.

Goal 1: “I want to lose weight over the holidays”

As the name suggests, here you decide to continue with the calorie deficit even during the holidays.


  • You will continue to lose weight and move forward in your weight loss journey
  • Well, do you need another pro, huh?
feet standing at the starting point of the weight loss journey


  • You’ll have to say no to all the delicious food around. A million times over!
  • You will be a food pushers dream come true! Yes, that aunt who loves feeding people. You are going to be her only target
  • Your will power will be tested a lot more than what you think

My personal verdict: I definitely feel the cons here are heavier than the pros. But if you pick this, know that you are as awesome as they come! And I hope you can achieve your goal.

Goal 2: “I want to maintain my weight during the holidays”

This is when you decide to take a break from being in a calorie deficit but still maintain your weight.


  • You get to enjoy all the fantastic food
  • You can manage the holiday indulgence by staying in maintenance on a weekly basis


  • You will still have to be selective with the food as you need to ensure you don’t go overboard (don’t worry, in the next section, I have shared several practical ways to achieve this)
  • You probably can’t escape the food pushers in this one too. I mean, they’re called ‘food pushers’ for a reason.
  • You have to practice self-control

My personal verdict: Honestly, I believe ending the holidays at the same weight you start is a huge-ass win! And this is often what I end up aiming for for the holiday season.

Goal 3: “I just want to chill and enjoy the festivities”

You feel you have worked extremely hard over the last few months or are just bored of being in a calorie deficit. So, you decide to chill and have fun.


  • You’ve permitted yourself to eat whatever you want
  • You’re not stressing over your calories or your weight. It’s a mental break from constantly thinking about your fitness goals 
  • You will be motivated to get back on track stronger and harder after the holidays 


  • This isn’t a go-all-crazy card – Just because there are no restrictions doesn’t mean that you eat like a crazy person every single day for a whole month. Sure, go ahead and enjoy the 2,3,4,6 family dinners or holiday parties. But you need to eat normally rest of the times 
  • You will come out of the holidays a bit heavier 
  • The biggest con is that if you are not careful, you can do a lot of damage to your progress. Sometimes it can take a couple of weeks or even a month to get back to the pre-holiday weight

My personal verdict: If you really want the break, then I say go for it! Nothing is more important than your peace of mind and happiness.

Now that you’re clear on your holiday weight management goal let’s move Step 2.

Step 2: 7 Health tips to achieve your goals

Now onto the actionable stuff! 

But before we get to the tips, I’d like to take a moment to quickly remind you that it’s super duper important to – ‘be sure of what your goal is’. I know we just spoke about this, but I can’t emphasize this point enough. These tips are only useful when you’re clear on that. Once you know what you want, you can tweak each of the tips as per your requirements.

1. Portion control your holidays

This applies to everyone. Even the ones who have decided to ‘chill’. Just because you want to indulge doesn’t mean that the indulgence is limitless. 

So, before heading for dinner, set up guidelines you can easily follow. There is no right way to do this. So, pick what works for you. 

Below are some examples you can use:

using portion control to eating a slice of a cake instead of the fill cake

Everything on one plate

This is when you decide you will eat only one plate of food. There is no limit on how much or what you can fill on that plate. But you can’t take a second serving.

Cap the number of items

Any four items – Here you pick any 4 things you want to eat at a buffet. You can eat any number of servings but of only these 4 things. 
PS: reduce the number of items if the dinner spread is only 6 dishes!

Unlimited servings of one

Here you decide you eat your heart out, but of only one dish. You will eventually feel full and maybe even bored of eating the same thing, thus limiting your calories.

Select items and set servings

Here you decide you will eat any 2 items and have 2 servings of each. This is again entirely up to you. But setting a limit will stop you from overindulging

2. Pick the healthy options

This point is especially applicable to sweets!

Home-made sweets

I have a special place in my heart for home-made sweets. But picking these can also be helpful when thinking about health. Home-made sweets, however indulgent, will be lesser on calories when compared to their store-bought counterparts. And the odds are that they will also be fresher, more hygienic and made with the best quality ingredients.

Sweets made from jaggery / dates / honey 

Try to pick sweets made with sweeteners other than sugar, like jaggery, dates, honey, banana etc. The calories may be similar, but you will get more micro-nutrients. These micro-nutrients might not be too much (depending on how much you consume), but something is better than nothing!

And if you think sugar is the main hurdle in your weight loss journey, let me help clear the myth and show you how can you to eat sugar and continue to lose weight, I’ve got just the post for you.

In addition to being cautious with the sweets, try to get in a decent serving of veggies and protein. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat the other stuff. Just that eating something healthy will fill you up without guilt and then you can be picky with your indulgences.

3. Don’t go hungry

Heading to meet the family. Ensure that you aren’t hungry.

If you arrive at a party hungry, you are more likely to eat things you would have skipped otherwise. Making rational food choices while hungry is not a power we mere humans possess.

4. Avoid liquid calories

Think twice before you pick up the cocktail or the juice. It will taste amazing, no doubt! But the chances are that it is loaded with sugar. Skipping this could save you enough calories to enjoy a serving of your favorite dessert. And I personally would pick food over drinks any day!

5. Quality over quantity

There will always be a ton of food. And so many options to pick from. So, instead of eating every single thing on the table, choose the ones you know you will enjoy. This is an easy way to cut out unwanted calories. And even if you do end up eating the same number of calories, it is from things you like. So, that’s a win on its own.

6. Avoid the FOMO

Festival food is often special. Made only once a year. This can lead to a feeling of missing out. Like you won’t get to eat it again till next year. Well, we all know that isn’t true. You can always make that special sweet yourself or buy it. We live in a world where everything is available. So, don’t eat something only for FOMO. But don’t be overly restrictive either. Which is my next point.

7. Don’t restrict

Temptation increase when you restrict yourself too much. And this will eventually lead to a binge. So do not restrict yourself. Eat a cake if you really want cake. But don’t give in every time you are tempted. Indulgence is fine only when done in moderation. So always keep your goal in mind.

What happens if I binged like crazy one day? Will I gain weight if I overeat one day?

We have all asked these questions. But there is something I would like to remind each and everyone who is trying to lose weight (including myself):

Skipping one meal doesn’t make you thin and indulging in one won’t make you fat!

– Khush

It’s a festival. It’s okay to indulge. Come on, we’re only humans! So, no need to justify anything. What’s important is what you do after this holiday indulgence.

First, don’t feel guilty! You wanted to eat; you ate. Period.

Second, get back on track. Starting the very next day!

Feeling guilty will only lead to more binges on the pretext of ‘oh, I screwed up anyway, so might as well eat rest of the weekend’ or ‘I am anyways off the diet, so now it doesn’t matter.

Remember: It’s okay to have a crazily indulgent day. What is important is that you get back on track the next day. No guilt, no negativity.

So, the best way to enjoy the holidays is by giving yourself some leeway to relax.

  • Set up realistic goals. And make sure you follow them
  • Stay on track of your fitness plan before and after the holidays
  • Use diet breaks / maintenance phases around the time of holidays as they allow for higher calorie consumption

And make sure you make the most of the holidays!

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