The November and December holidays are some of the happiest times of the year. Whether it’s the first snowfall, holiday parties, or the anticipation of a new year just around the corner, the holidays are full of festive vibes.

If there’s one potential downside of the holidays, though, it is likely the abundance of holiday treats. Savory appetizers, sweet baked goods, and alcoholic drinks are seemingly everywhere.

But there is some good news for those already worried about the added holiday pounds. Contrary to the popular belief that the average American gains approximately 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, researchers have found that the actual weight gain is closer to one pound. In a study of 195 adults over a 6- to 8-week period, researchers found that the average weight increase was actually 0.8 pounds.

vegan food- tasty falafel wrap in gluten free bread

The real problem when it comes to holiday weight gain is not so much the extra slice of pie at dinner, it’s more that we tend not to lose that weight come January. Researchers explain that since the added weight gain is usually not reversed, the “fall/winter weight gain appears likely to contribute to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.”

Fortunately, there are several weight management strategies to help you maintain a healthy weight this holiday season that might even turn into a weight loss meal plan for the rest of the year.

Intermittent Fasting

An intermittent fasting weight loss regimen alternates between brief periods of fasting, followed by periods of less structured eating. Unlike prolonged fasting, which can shift your body’s physiological responses and prevent weight loss, intermittent fasting focuses on producing positive metabolic changes.

Programs like 131 METHOD offer holistic eating plans that focus on fueling and nourishing your body. 131 METHOD incorporates intermittent fasting for people who are interested in trying. The 131 METHOD teaches you how to to transition to a 12 hour fast, and even doing a 16 hour fast for some period of time.

Starting an intermittent fasting weight loss plan before the holidays can help your body adapt to this type of structured eating and can also help you maintain a healthy weight while still indulging in holiday goodies.

Balance Nutrient-Dense Foods with Holiday Treats

Depending on which fasting routine you choose, you should be cognizant of balancing healthy foods with holiday treats and avoiding “binge” tendencies during non-fasting periods. Try to select nutrient-rich foods that will sustain you throughout the day and keep you less fixated on the holiday food around you. Pairing healthy, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats with holiday treats can help you avoid overindulging at the holiday buffet table.

Have a Plan for Non-Fasting

The value of intermittent fasting is that it carves out a timetable for eating. While incorporating nutrient-rich foods is important, so too is being deliberate about how much you eat during periods of non-fasting. It’s okay to indulge in a treat, but being aware of how many calories you need to maintain your weight during non-fasting periods can help avoid over consumption.

Supplement with Fluids

During times of fasting, you will want to drink as much water as possible. Other beverages that are acceptable are ones that won’t spike your blood sugar, such as herbal teas, coffee (in moderation), lemon water, bone broth, and other unsweetened beverages. This will help you feel full, and teas and lemon water can also deliver nutrients and antioxidants. The fuller you feel and the more nutrients you receive during fasting periods, the less likely you are to overindulge during non-fasting.

About 131 METHOD

131 METHOD was created by entrepreneur Chalene Johnson and is designed to deliver personalized weight loss. The programs, such as the weight loss meal plan, are designed and supported by experts including doctors, registered dietitians, and researchers. 131 METHOD removes the rules and barriers around eating and creates a customized approach to healthy weight loss.

Find out more about 131 METHOD at 131method.com