Survive Christmas Without Putting on a Ton of Weight


December 13, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Jolly fat, that is. Santa is hardly the ideal role model in these obesity-conscious times and temptation is simply everywhere at this time of year. Most of us just give up trying and indulge with wild abandon, aiming to turn over a new, ascetic leaf in January.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a few choice strategies, you needn’t have a mountain to climb in the new year. Without depriving yourself of the delights of the season, you can still watch the calories.

Here’s how:

Christmas shopping
If you know you’ll be shopping for several hours getting in Christmas supplies, take along your own healthy snacks and a bottle of water. You won’t need to stop at the coffee shop for a big slice of chocolate cake and whatever calorie-laden novelty coffee they are serving up this year.

Seasonal snacks
At Christmas time sweets, crisps, nuts etc get left around the house which makes things very difficult as visual signals are incredibly strong. Unless you have control over what gets left in sight, make yourself reach for the fruit bowl instead of the chocolate box. Also, try simply not looking at the snacks. If they catch your eye, look away. Avoid those visual prompts.


    • Drink plenty of water. With all that salty food and alcohol around we become pretty dehydrated but the body gets confused and actually craves more food! Drinking more water will help to eliminate those signals.


  • Add water to your alcohol, such as the wine with your meal. Not only will this help to reduce the amount of alcohol calories you consume, it’ll also stave off that nasty mid-afternoon headache that is so often the corollary of an over-indulgent Christmas lunch.

Christmas meals

    • Load up your plate with vegetables and eat them first. They’ll fill you up so you’ll eat less. Limit your starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta, rice and bread. Concentrate on the vegetables and lean meat first rather than tucking into the roast potatoes straight away.


    • Reduce your portion sizes. It can be easier than actually depriving yourself of your favorite Christmas food if you simply eat less of it than you normally would and don’t go for seconds.


  • Eat slowly to ensure that your body has time to register when it is full. If you don’t overeat, you’ll feel so much better afterwards, while everyone else is groaning and undoing several buttons.


    • Don’t let your exercise regime slip just because it’s Christmas. If your usual gym session falls on Christmas day or another holiday, reschedule. Come January, you’ll be glad you didn’t fall out of routine while everyone else is struggling to get back into ‘gym mode’.


  • Encourage the family to get out and about on Christmas day and Boxing day, doing something active. Everyone will benefit from the fresh air and calorie-burning opportunity! If the weather is really foul, organise some active indoor games like charades.

Volunteer this Christmas time, at a homeless shelter for instance. It will get you out and active, you’ll be doing a good thing and you’ll probably feel less like over-indulging yourself. Take along your excess chocolates and share them round.

So what do you do to avoid the ‘Christmas bulk’?

Written for Dumb Little Man by Sally from where she writes on how to leave the rat race behind and live a simpler, happier life. She also shares great workout ideas and about her passion for fitness at


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