Christmas eating! Don't worry too much!

The ‘holiday period’ within the research is classed between last week of November to the second

week of January. They found for the most gained in this period was between 0.3kg – 0.9kg (1).

SURPRISE! Even some studies suggesting as low as 0.2kg around this period (2). Some individuals

within this period who were motivated to consistently self-monitor food intake in this time actually lost

weight (6).

In some more extreme cases, weight gain in obese individuals ranged from 6.1kg – 8.8kg over the

Christmas 2 week period (11). The maximum weight gained within the 2 week Christmas period in 26

English adults was 4.4kg (10). Though the studies in this period of the year aren’t very high quality &

not always looking at fat mass lost in this time frame only. A study with 120,000 Americans

participating in it, measured the average weight gained over a 4 year period. This came to on average

was 1.52kg gained over the Christmas period (12). 

There was a frighteningly high weight gain from certain articles suggesting a 6000 calorie increase

from Christmas day from the UK (8) but is article suggests this is not to be an accurate representation

of the British general public

Some research has shown that 60% of people who engaged in a physical activity health mentorship

plan with the reduced calorie meals around this period actually maintained their weight (6).  Mainly

obese and over weight people gained the most weight around the holiday period at around 5 pounds

more than non-overweight individuals (7). This could be to with poor health behaviour related habits.

Researchers suggest possible weight gain is down to more frequent exposures to family social

gatherings with high-energy dense foods & social events which have larger selections of foods with

more variety (3) and bigger portion sizes e.g. buffets (4) combined with less physical activity within the

winter period (4).


Applying the standard safe weight loss recommendations of losing 0.5kg – 1kg  per week (9) can be

applied to the studies suggested weight gain of 0.2kg to 0.9kg around the holiday would take 1-2 to

lose. So wouldn’t take long to lose at all. However, totally depends on how much you eat relative to

your bodies energy needs. Either way, it is totally losable. In the mean time, here is your secret

weapon. I wrote up some tactics you could implement Christmas day & throughout the holiday period

for effective weight management enjoy.


Final closing tips for weight management over Christmas Day:


 If you choose to minimise weight gain over the Christmas day, self-monitor your portion


 Delay breakfast and have your Christmas dinner as your main meal for the day.

 Strive not to eat until you’re completely full

 Drink plenty of water to stay full

 Eat plenty of vegetables. They’re super low in calories & the fibre will fill you up.

 Eat deserts in moderation.

 If want in easier way to reduce calories without tracking things, just limit your carbs &

dietary fats. Focus on Turkey, vegetables, gravy & possible a smaller desert.

 Could alternatively have a lower calorie / alcohol free beer.

 Could create an exercise buffer. This is where you do additional bout of exercise maybe

a couple of days before either in the form of weights or a cardio session to burn

additional calories in the week. This could potentially offset the calories consumed

Christmas day. This could be done the morning of Christmas (which I understand is a

little more extreme. I am not suggesting its necessary to do this) as a body weighted

circuit, or a long walk, jog or sprint.

 Resume your normal exercise plan if you’re a gym goer as soon as possible. If you’re a

newbie, then begin as soon as you want to.



As you can see for the most part, the numbers aren’t as astronomically high as you might think. If you

want to limit your weight gain, self-monitor to small degrees, focus potentially on continuing your

exercise programme from boxing day onwards or if your newbie start when you feel ready. Do

whatever is best for you.

I will say this. Try to have fun. You don’t eat this much food in a normal day and for the most part you

will be able to reduce any weight accumulated within the 2-3 week Christmas – New year period.

Have fun & if need be, try out my tips to minimise any potential weight gain.

Enjoy the day!

Merry Christmas

Joshua Leo Stuart

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