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Tips for maintaining your weight loss over the festive period

Hello December! For most of us December is a great month, with excitement building towards Christmas, lights and decorations everywhere and lots of parties to enjoy. However, when you’re on a diet, this holiday can be a struggle. Every party and celebration seems to revolve around rich, high calorie food and alcohol and temptation is there at every turn.

We know it’s not easy to stick to your diet and maintain healthy eating over Christmas, but it isn’t impossible either. Turn to your Consultant and a supportive friend or family member for help and ideas on how to reduce your calorie intake. Look for healthier alternatives to traditional festive food, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

What matters is that you don’t undo all the hard work you have put in over the year to lose the weight, just for a few mince pies. If you can be good and minimise the treats over Christmas, it will be so much easier to continue in January and reach your goal weight, so stick with it.


Here are some ideas to help


Navigate the office party with care

Prepare yourself before the party by eating a filling and healthy lunch so you’re not going with an empty stomach, when temptation is so much harder to resist. If you can, avoid alcohol completely as it contains lots of calories, but if your will power is not working fully, ask for a low-calorie drink such as a gin and slimline tonic, or have a small glass of white wine and a fizzy water for a refreshing spritzer. Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink, it will pace you, minimise your alcohol intake, keep you hydrated and if required, also help avoid a hangover. Choose the healthiest snacks at the buffet and then move away from the table, preferably onto the dance floor where you can burn those calories and have a great time.


Make healthy swaps and choose low fat alternatives throughout the festive season

  • Choose low fat options for the whole family, you won’t taste the difference and the calorie difference can be huge
  • Look for lower calorie recipes for your family’s favourites, or mix it up with some new healthy Christmas recipes
  • Make healthy food swaps – check out these 12 heart friendly swaps from the British Heart Foundation
  • If it really wouldn’t be Christmas without alcohol, choose the low calorie and low alcohol versions of beers and mixers, or have a small amount of red wine with your meal and make up some festive mocktails for the rest of the day with our great water flavourings
  • Make sure you always have healthy snacks around like olives, crudité, hummus and guacamole or nuts and popcorn. They are still delicious but they are healthier and lower in calories as well and you won’t even miss the crisps.


Use smaller plates to reduce portion sizes

It’s an old trick, but it really works. Give everyone smaller plates at the Christmas table and they will take less. If you then want to go back for more, no problem, just take your time to eat the first portion, really enjoy every bite and then ask yourself if you really need any more. You’ll end your meal satisfied, having enjoyed all the food you love, without feeling uncomfortable, or having more calories than necessary.


Know how long each Christmas treat takes to burn off

In a 2018 study it was found that educating people about how much exercise was required to burn the calories in some of the favourite Christmas foods made people think twice about how much they ate. Simply being aware led to a reduced portion size and encouraged exercise over the festive period. The same study also recommended weighing yourself twice a week over the Christmas period to remain vigilant regarding the effects of your Christmas indulgences and helped reduce weight gain.


Here are some of the findings of the study, which will certainly make us think twice before reaching for those mince pies and chocolates.


  • You need to run for 32 minutes to burn off the calories from just one mini pork pie
  • If you have five Roses chocolates, you’ll need to walk for 40 minutes to burn the calories off
  • Can’t say no to that mince pie? It’s fine if you go for a 20 minute run!
  • How about the booze? You’ll need to walk for around 30 minutes to compensate for a small glass of mulled wine or a pint of lager


Incorporate exercise into your Christmas routine

An average adult consumes 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone (3,500 more than they need!!) and you are sure to eat more than you should, even if you’re watching your weight. So just make sure that you balance this with upping the exercise to not feel the effects in January.


  • Walk to the shops rather than driving
  • Exercise at home
  • Go for a long walk after dinner with the family
  • Have a festive dance party
  • Make up games to play with the kids in the garden, they’ll love to have active time with you
  • Look into races, or fun family activities over the Christmas period which will get you out and about. The most famous in Spain is the San Silvestre 10k race on the 31st of December, but look out for one in your area and get involved.


Don’t start too early

Just because it’s December, you don’t need to be eating calorie laden food all the time. Stick to your plan and be even more careful in the run up to Christmas, giving yourself permission to have a few treats on the most important days so you don’t feel deprived. As long as it’s just a few days and you make sensible choices through those days, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look and feel great all the way through Christmas and out the other side.


Get support

Don’t do it alone, get a weight loss buddy, or even better an accredited Consultant who is trained to be able to support you and help you get over these hurdles. Look at positive examples such as these success stories and be inspired by what they have achieved. If they can do it so can you!

Don’t wait until after Christmas to start your plan, by working with a Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant before the big day, you can educate yourself, start incorporating healthy habits and delicious, nutritious and low-calorie products into your routine. Contact your nearest Cambridge Weight Plan Spain Consultant and get started today.

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    European Food Safety Authority.
    European agency for scientific advice and communication of the risks associated with the food chain.
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    Food Standards Agency.
    Government is the department of the United Kingdom that works to protect the public health of consumers over food.
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    Evidence based.
    Practice based on scientific evidence and the realization of medical-scientific studies that prove its certainty.