How to Gain 0 Pounds During the Holidays

11.19.2018 | Forge Performance

How to Gain 0 Pounds During the Holidays

It happens every year. You’re crushing your health and fitness goals from September to November, then BOOM! Thanksgiving. Work holiday party. Christmas Eve. Christmas Day. The “special occasions” and opportunities for complete derailment seem never ending.

This is in large part why we take a different approach to fitness. We focus on progressively building habits over time to better combat life’s interruptions. Focusing on the long term approach can bring you the results you’re looking for in the short term, as well as enable you to sustain these results over time.

If you haven’t adopted this lifestyle just yet, don’t worry. We’ve put together an awesome article and multiple resources to help you stay on track this holiday season.

We’ve worked with hundreds of people, and we’ve identified 4 areas that are most likely to trip people up. Which one do you most identify with?

1. Family Obligations

Do you find yourself spending the majority of your time picking up people from the airport, entertaining, or beckoning to our visiting families every wants and need? – they’re not newborns, they’ll be fine

2. Diet Derailment

Do you find it hard to resist all the tempting food that’s around you, or do your family and friends guilt you into straying away from your diet? don’t have a diet, just manage your portions

3. Alcohol Consumption

Do you tend to consume more alcohol than normal when attending parties and family gatherings?

4. Travel

Is it your turn to make the 5-hour trip to Aunt Gene’s house for (insert holiday here)?

You’ll probably pick 1, if not 2 to 3 of these common issues. So, without wasting anymore time, let’s break these down one by one. You ready?

Family Obligations

This one is probably more difficult for people who are hosting events rather than those who are attending. Some of us will host a large collection of people, making it difficult to find time for ourselves. And therein lies the problem. We’ll never be able to find time when we’re in the moment. We need to create structure and prepare for it so we can better deal with urgent and important matters, as they most certainly will come up.

Don’t Lie to Yourself

The first step is to stop lying to yourself of all the things you “must” do. There’s no reason why when family is visiting that you need to spend every waking moment with them. No one is going to die because you decided to go to the gym for an hour. And if they do, do you really want to be there for that anyway? Of course not!

Give Them Some Space

The truth is, they probably want their space too. Don’t get sucked in to spending the entire day inside the house beckoning to their every want and need. There’s being a good host, and then there’s being a servant because you feel obligated. If this is a distant cousin or best friend you see once a decade, then bring them with you! Chances are they’ll want to do whatever you have your schedule to spend more time with you, and it will be a great opportunity to bond over something meaningful in your life.

Get Organized

Schedule yourself the week out. Make time for everything you need to do as well as everything that is important to you. If you struggle to organize yourself ahead of time, click this link and download our Structure PDF >>> Structure PDF. This is how we suggest all of our members structure their time, or at least use it as a guideline for how you can organize your life around what’s most important.

Diet Derailment

The best way to not derail your diet is to not have one in the first place. Diets are reserved for a special portion of the population, and they’re meant for short bursts of discipline (4-8 weeks at a time). Dieting through the holidays is a sure way to be miserable and subconsciously avoid situations that wouldn’t be detrimental if the right approach is taken. It’s not bad to eat good food, so long as we approach it the right way.

Focus on the Basics

The best way to manage your portions is to take your time when you eat, aiming for 20 minutes, and eating until 80% full. At the end of the day, calories are calories, and by controlling our portions we can control how much weight we gain. We talk about this topic more extensively in our article Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work.

Engage in Conversation

The best way to keep from eating food is to keep yourself occupied with other activities. During the holidays, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch up with people you haven’t talked to in a while. Just make sure you do it out of the kitchen or away from the food. Don’t worry, you won’t look weird. More often than not, people are very supportive of your health and fitness goals!

Ditch the Leftovers

This one is the worst! If you’re hosting a party and there’s plenty of food left over that you wouldn’t typically eat, get rid of it. Send it home with some poor sucker who didn’t read this article, donate it, or if you absolutely need to, throw it out! I know, I know, the starving kids around the world. But sadly, your stomach isn’t a portal to all the starving children around the world. If you really feel that badly, make some donations at your local food bank.

Alcohol consumption – drinks PDF

In January of 2018 we covered the topic of alcohol consumption in depth. It was by far our most popular article, but people weren’t too happy with the info included. Basically, alcohol is bad for you. There’s no amount of it that’s beneficial for you that can’t be replaced with a healthier option without the negative side effects. If you want to read more on this topic, you can check it out HERE.

That being said, we’re also reasonable people who occasionally have a few drinks ourselves. We don’t expect you to completely abstain from drinking during the holidays. There are a few tips we can share with you to help you control your consumption.

Limit the Quantity

Like calories from food, there is a difference in the quality of the alcohol we drink. But it’s far more important to control the total amount of drinks we have. At the end of the day, 1.5 oz of liquor, 6 oz glass of wine, 12 oz bottle of beer are all created equal. Some may have more calories than the other, but generally speaking they all hover in the 100-150 calorie category.

To help manage your weight, we highly recommend limiting yourself to 1-2 drinks, and definitely no more than 4 at a single time. Staying away from drinking too close to bed time is also preferred, as alcohol disrupts our sleep patterns.

Get Your Own Drinks

Like eating junk food, the best way to keep from drinking too much is make it as difficult as possible for you to get another drink. This is why we strongly recommend making sure you get your own drink. When someone politely asks you, “Can I get you another (insert your drink of choice here)?”, politely say no. It also helps to not stand in or near the area where drinks are present. Do your best to distance yourself from it as much as possible.

If you’re an extremely social person who tends to pound down drink after drink without thinking about it, grab a club soda, ice water or similar calorie free drink. For this individual, we actually recommend starting with this tactic, as it may be more difficult to stop drinking once you’ve already started.

Pass the Bottle

Similar to the “don’t stand near the bar tactic”, do your best to keep yourself away from an open bottle. If you’re sitting down for dinner, make sure there’s not an open bottle of wine near you. The easier it is for us to keep drinking, the more difficult it will be not to.


The holidays are the biggest traveling days of the year. Although the majority of our clients don’t travel long distances for the holidays, we do have quite a few clients that travel frequently throughout the year for days and weeks at a time. It helps them tremendously to focus on these three strategies to help keep their fitness and nutrition in check.

Prepare and Plan

Traveling isn’t just packing the suitcases and catching the flight. When you have a health and fitness goal, it’s important to plan your entire trip ahead of time. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Where are you going, and what’s available to you?
    • look up your hotel gym, gyms in the area, and how much time you’ll have to workout each day
  • Research your nutrition options.
    • snacks to pack for travel, places to eat at the airport, in and around the hotel you’re staying, and storage options in your hotel room

If you’re looking for the most in depth guide for handling your nutrition when on the go, you’re going to love this infographic we put together on mastering the fundamentals of Nutrition. You can download it here >>> 6 Nutrition Fundamentals.

Set Realistic Expectations

Perhaps the most popular reason why people don’t exercise when they travel is unrealistic expectations for what this workout should look like. Chances are, you won’t be able to get the same workout you’re able to get when you’re home. Give yourself the opportunity to succeed by committing to shorter, simpler workouts.

These workouts can still be made intense by manipulating the pace and tempo of the exercises, and because they’re short and simple, you’ll often find time to perform them everyday. The goal during travel is to maintain all of the progress we’ve made so we can jump right back in stride when we’re back home.

We’ve put together a simple but effective and efficient workout for you to do while traveling. Regardless if you have 10 minutes, and hour, access to equipment or if your options are limited. If you have a small gym, you have a workout. Click this link >>> Send Travel Workouts and we’ll email you the travel workouts. Just put “Travel Workouts” in the comments, and we’ll send them right over!


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