Checklist for a Healthy Holiday without Gaining the Dreaded Holiday Weight

Checklist for a Healthy Holiday without Gaining the Dreaded Holiday Weight

The Dreaded Holiday Weight Gain

Let’s play a fun holiday game! See if you can answer the following:

Question 1:  The average American gains this many pounds over the holiday season…

Question 2: How many people make New Year’s Resolutions?

Question 3: How many people successfully keep their New Year’s Resolutions?

Question 4: What is the most popular New Year’s Resolutions?


Questions 2, 3, 4: Nearly 40% of us make New Year’s resolutions. 9% of us keep them (23% quit in the first week; only 36% make it past the first month). The most popular resolution is – drum roll please – exercise. In fact, the top 3 NY’s Resolutions are all health-related. (Read on for answer #1).

The dreaded holiday weight gain! The season should be about joy and loving connection, but too often we are left with a “what truck just hit me” feeling when all is said and done.

Whether it’s too much food, drink, stress, or even family; or too little movement, outdoor time, sleep, or “me time,” we can feel out of whack by January. And worse, if we are like the average American, we have packed on 1-5 pounds that we did NOT need to gain.

Which isn’t the whole story…because we do not typically lose that 1-5 pounds, so next year, here comes another 1-5 pounds.

As a society we are getting fatter and fatter, with all the health consequences that overweight brings (read THIS for a deeper dive into just what fat does to you).

How can we do better?

Like someone famous (either Benjamin Franklin or Winston Churchill) once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

How about a 18-Point Holiday Success Plan!

I built this one just for you. Read to the end for a checklist that you can print to keep you on track. I want you to thrive and be healthy in all seasons of the year. And if you need some extra help beyond this Holiday Success Plan, I’m here for you. At the end of this post, I’ll let you in on something I do that might work brilliantly for you.

Holiday Success Plan

1. Start at the beginning: your mindset.

What are your intentions for this season? Write these down, most powerfully in very specific “I” statements. For example, “I will be in bed by 10:00 pm 5 nights every week.” “I will exercise 4 times every week.” “I will drink a maximum of 2 alcoholic beverages this week.”

2. Plan your week on Sunday.

Take some time and look ahead at the coming week: what needs to get done? What do you want to get done? If you have been invited to events, do they conflict with the time you allotted to your own goals, or can you attend and still stay on track? Convert your intentions into a plan of action. In other words, WHEN will you exercise? Make this plan into a checklist of critical tasks to be checked off so you stay on track.

3. Build circumstances for success.

For example, if you are worried about going to someone’s home and there not being anything healthy to eat, eat a healthy meal first, bring a dish that you like and eat that. Stressed about possible interpersonal conflict at an event? Drive yourself and leave when it stops being enjoyable. Eating your feelings because you aren’t living in your truth is a real thing, my friend.

4. Hydrate.

Begin drinking water first thing in the morning – before caffeine – and drink half your body weight pounds in ounces (ex: 200 pounds = 100 ounces water). Add a little sea or Himalayan pink salt and a squeeze of lemon.

5. Intermittent fast (IF).

If you already fast intermittently, keep to it. Most people do very well on a 16:8 schedule (16 hours fasting, eating 2 – maybe 3 – meals within an 8-hour window). Enjoy non-caloric liquids like water, tea, coffee during that fasting window, and keep the water going. If you are new to IF, you might want to start with a 14:10 or even a 12:12 schedule.

6. Clean up your sleep habits.

Dim overhead lights after dark – switch to lamps, and optimally to red light bulbs in those lamps. Then, observe the “10-3-2-1-0” method of sleep hygiene: 10 hours before bed, stop caffeine. 3 hours before bed, stop eating. 2 hours before bed, stop work. 1 hour before bed, stop all screens (phone, iPad, Kindle, TV, computer). 0 times hit the snooze button in the morning. Keep your room dark and cool (I like 60-65 degrees). Regulate your sleep and your health will thank you!

7. Alcohol is a health disruptor.

There is simply no way around it. Whether you have a lot or a little, it is doing some damage to your sleep, mood, blood sugar, hormones, etc. So, in this potentially heavy-libation season, if you know you are going to want to share a bit socially, limit elsewhere, like every night every week except the party. Drink water first so you aren’t quenching thirst with alcohol, and drink a non-alcoholic beverage before and after every drink of alcohol.

8. Pick one. Only one.

If you’re looking forward to something special, have a bit. But choose only one of the following at any given meal or event: alcohol, dessert, carb (like potatoes, rice, bread – although I do recommend abstaining from grains altogether). Enjoy ONE something that is special to you at a meal.

9. Know yourself.

For some, it’s fine to have a couple of bites of a special holiday treat and be done with it. But for others, “1 is too many, and 10 isn’t enough.” If you are Type 1, and you’re looking forward to a treat you only enjoy at this time of year, go ahead and have a bit. But if you are Type 2, just say no and stay off the slippery slope of a little leading to a lot.

10. Visually plan your plate.

Fill 50% with healthy vegetables (for example, salad), and eat 10 servings of vegetables per day. Eat 25% healthy protein. 25% can be fruit. In addition, enjoy 1.5 – 2 servings of healthy fat per meal (1 serving = 1T). If you eat a meal outside this ratio (ex: sugar, nuts, dairy), get back to it ASAP.

11. Abstain from grains.

All grains contain gluten, and most people find grains inflammatory.

12. No snacking.

Eat 2 proper meals, and do not snack in between. If you are at an event with appetizers served, either just say no, or choose something made up of vegetables. A bite here + a bite there can add up to a lot of calories!

13. No leftovers, no food gifts.

I heard a pastor once teach, “Have you ever noticed that when you go somewhere you shouldn’t, you do things you shouldn’t?” Translation: if you don’t want to eat certain things, do NOT have them in your house! Having one of whatever at a party is one thing; having a container of 2 dozen in your frig is almost certainly a recipe for weight gain disaster.

14. Sunlight and fresh air, daily.

Get a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes of sunlight and fresh air daily, preferably in the morning. The morning sunlight helps your body manufacture vitamin D, improves your mood, and sets up your circadian rhythm for a good night’s sleep.
  (I am a huge proponent of “win the morning, win the day.” Hydration, movement, sunlight, breathwork, prayer and meditation, edifying pages read: this is a great formula to get ahead of the day and prioritize your mental, emotional and physical health before anything else.)

15. Good posture.

When we slouch, it sets off a lot of bad habits: mouth breathing, snacking, negative thinking, laziness. Sit up and stand up straight. Enter a room with eyes forward and a “heart before head” posture. Something as simple as this makes a huge difference. Also, do not make your sweatpants your best friends! Elastic hides a multitude of sins. Pants with zippers tell no lies!!

16. Gratitude.

Each and every day – and multiple times per day – refresh your “attitude of gratitude.” Gratitude and love are the highest frequency emotions. They vanquish fear, doubt, envy, insecurity, shame, even anger. In a season that can sometimes feel over-burdened with expectations of being “the most wonderful time of the year,” we need to keep things simple and positive. When we keep ourselves on the lookout for people, places and things for which we are grateful, we bathe our brains in calm positivity, which leads to making better choices for our health. (Even more powerful still, keep a running written journal of these.) It’s all connected in the most amazing way.

17. Maintenance is sometimes winning.

You may have huge fitness goals, and you may be hitting all your goal markers – losing fat, gaining muscle. But if you’re finding the season especially challenging and you aren’t making progress, extend some grace to yourself. For the next few weeks, if you can maintain, even if you aren’t actually progressing, that can still be a win.

18. Last but not least, make a plan for January.

If you already had great health habits before the holiday season began, get back to those. But, if you're a hot mess and you don't want to be, read on...

But don’t just make a “wish” and call it a “resolution.”

If you were off course before this whole season began, what are the chances that you’re going to get yourself where you want to get without help after?

Dr. Wade Binley - IBSolutions Method
If you’re ready to be done with the madness and finally achieve the health you know you should, I can help.

I can come alongside you and help you get rid of the excess fat, the out-of-whack hormones, the off-track sleep, and the crushing feeling of defeat because…here you are again.

We are opening our 10-week coached “Solutions Reset” program back up bright and early in January, making it better than ever! Linda and I teach you what, when and how to eat for optimal health, leveraging real food, the power of community and us alongside you all the way. No crazy powders, potions or supplement regimes, just real talk, real food, and real change. It works!

“All of my jeans fit and some are waaaaaayyyyyy too big!

And my shorts fit!  They haven’t fit in years!  I almost donated them all this summer.”


Solutions Reset Member

Change can be scary, but if you’re ready, you know it. And we are here to help.

If that sounds like the New Year you want to be part of, let’s talk. Watch THIS VIDEO and see if it sounds like what you’ve been looking for.

I wish you and yours a joyous season, surrounded by love. Most of all, I wish you a season of HEALTH, for that represents true wealth and happiness.

Check out the checklist below. Share with someone you care about!

Always looking out for you,

Dr. Wade

Holiday Success Plan

Dr. Wade Binley, DC CFMP

Dr. Wade Binley, DC CFMP

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1 thought on “Checklist for a Healthy Holiday without Gaining the Dreaded Holiday Weight”

  1. Such great tips. Just to be clear the 1/2 your weight in water is all throughout the day right? Not all when you 1st wake up. Just checking. 😊

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A goal without a plan is just a wish.

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