10 Steps to Lose Weight Before the Holidays

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There’s a good reason to not wait until January to lose weight when you can do it now. Here’s how to lose weight and increase your metabolism before the holidays in ten easy steps.

Instead of waiting until January to get started losing weight, how about getting started with healthy habits now? Instead of ending the year feeling overweight, bloated, and tired, you can finish up strong and ready to blaze into the new year!

August 2023 Update: I have had clients tell me that they gain as much as 10 pounds because of their increased food intake over the holidays.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine says that adults who gain weight during the fall and holidays, do not reverse the gain after the holidays. That gain becomes permanent!

And this weight gain starts before the holidays, in the fall.

I’m offering a few lifestyle changes that you can do now, that will have a positive impact on your metabolic rate and can actually decrease your appetite. 

Why It’s Important to Start Now?

For many of my weight loss clients, it can take weeks or even a few months before they begin see pounds lost on the scale. 

This is a critical time because you are learning the skills to manage your weight for the rest of your life. 

Not gaining during the holidays is also a great goal. Instead of that extra 5 to 10 pounds, you can start at your current weight. That’s a win in my book.

The holidays are just around the corner but there is still plenty of time to begin implementing new habits and create a new mindset around eating!

When I work with clients, these are the general steps I have them take to not only lose weight but to create lifelong habits that they can sustain.

Diets are always temporary. That’s why most people gain all the weight and more back. But when you make gradual changes and do the mind-work around eating, then you are in control of your food.

Think about how wonderful that would feel! For you to be in control of what you eat—not the other way around. Find out how to lose weight before the holidays and keep it off for good.

Most diets leave you feeling deprived and like you are missing out. Not only that but many women sacrifice essential nutrients because of food restriction and fewer calories. Your nutrition is a priority.

Instead, you can choose to understand how the way you are currently eating is creating your results. Then you can choose to do something different. 

Not because you are bad but because you love yourself enough to take care of yourself! And that is the most amazing gift in the world.

Picture of smiling woman with the words: Don't wait for January to lose weight. Let's get started now.

How to Lose Weight Before the Holidays

I’m going to give you 10 things you can do. Take as long as you need for each step.

I’ll give general recommendations around timing, but you are unique, and you get to be the boss of this project. I’m your consultant who is going to give you the benefit of what I have studied and experienced.

As great as losing weight can feel, taking control of your eating is just as great. If you usually gain weight, NOT gaining weight can be an amazing goal!

This is the foundation you need to spend the rest of your life at a comfortable weight—not just for a special occasion or a few months.

I’ve written lots of posts on what I do, and you can always refer to those for ideas on some specific ideas too.

However, if you do Step One from the get-go, it will probably be obvious where you can make some changes.

So, let’s go!

10 Steps to Lose Weight Before the Holidays

Write down everything you eat

Find a spiral notebook or composition book. From now on, write down everything you eat and when you eat it. Think of this as a place to collect data. This is so important to do before you make any changes!

In fact, after working with women for three years as a coach, this is the one step that makes the biggest difference.

Write it down and you will be more successful in making changes and losing weight.

When my clients do this, we can often see that they are doing so many things right! They don’t need to change everything.

By writing down your food intake, you can see how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you are eating. In my experience most women are not eating enough good quality protein or fats. 

But we can always pinpoint areas where they can make changes that will help their body begin to access fat and improve nutrition.

We often have different eating patterns during the work week compared to the weekend.

Write it all down. Every snack, drink, or bite. This journal will become a partner to you in this journey and you will appreciate how helpful it is to have all this information.

Most of us, eat quite a bit without really being conscious of it and having a food journal helps you capture this information.

You can write in it as you go or do it all in one go at the end of the day. Group meals and snacks together so you can look at these areas separately.

Put approximate sizes of servings too. Note add-ons such as dressing, sauces, fats, and oils.

What I see the most, is meals that aren’t big enough and too much snacking. Collecting this data is a great way to see where you can concentrate your efforts.

Pick one area to work on at a time

Okay, now you have some food data. Pick one area to concentrate on for the next week. As you pick your area to work on, you may need to adjust another area to make it doable.

For example, if you are going to eliminate snacks during the day, you may need to eat more at your meals.

If you are eliminating processed foods from your lunch, you may need to add more vegetables, protein, and fat at lunch.

These are some of the things you can do:

  • Eliminate a regular snack each day
  • Eliminate or reduce processed foods
  • Have a 12-hour fast between dinner and first meal of the day
  • Pick one meal where you will only eat real food: a protein, vegetables, and healthy fats each day.

Often, women actually need to begin eating more of some types of food. If you have bread, pasta, rice, or other processed foods with your meals, you don’t have to give all of it up.

But these types of food do cause most people to gain weight and they keep us craving more. You can look for places to cut down. I will talk more about this later in the post.

Commit to each change until you have it mastered

I know, it’s tempting to want to change everything all at once.

But since this is a process to change your brain as well as your body, it makes sense to take the time on creating new habits and new neural pathways.

Our brains are changeable. This is important to know. You might feel like you could never live without certain foods without feeling deprived. That is simply not true.

Also, you are working to improve your hormones that are an important part of how you metabolize food. 

You can train your brain to not only tolerate a new way of eating, but to love it as well.

The you, you are now, can be a completely new-thinking person in time. This is the true secret of losing weight and keeping it off. You can’t do that just by eating less.

You can only do it by consistently doing the mind-work as well as changing how you eat.

Plan your meals

Now that you’ve got your food journal going and you’ve decided on a change to make, I’m going to suggest that each morning or the night before, you plan out what you are going to eat that day.

Remember, you aren’t on a diet and you don’t have to deprive yourself. Simply start planning your meals in a general way.

This means thinking about the week ahead and having the food you want to eat on hand and either prepared or ready to prepare.

This step is part of the overall process of putting you in charge of your eating. Instead of each meal being unconscious, you’ll be consciously deciding what to eat.

For now, allow yourself as much food as you want and any kind you want—except in the one area where you are making a change.

And you can also plan some treats!

Get real. If you know you are going to eat your favorite cookie or have a drink, plan for it. It really is okay.

In the beginning you may think this is going to take more time than you have. However, it will become a huge time-saver as you get used to doing it every week.

Eliminate snacks and evening eating

As you go forward, you will begin to eliminate snacks and any after-dinner eating. One of the reasons that we gain weight is because we eat too often. Not just too much but too often as well.

Included in snacks, is soda. There is no good soda, not even diet sodas. For some people diet drinks can affect their ability to lose weight.

Our bodies need time between meals. This allows the body to properly digest and for insulin and other hormones to work correctly.

If you eat enough at meals, including lots of vegetables and healthy fats, you will not need your snacks. That is key, you have to eat enough at your lunch and dinner, so you don’t need to snack.

When you are tempted to snack, check in with your hunger first. Are you actually hungry? If yes, then eat something but make a note that you may need to eat more at your meals.

By eating more, I always mean, more vegetables and more healthy fats and oils. I’ll give you a list at the bottom.

As you’ll see in the next section, processed foods are problematic and have to eventually be reduced. But I don’t want you to be hungry right after a meal!

However, it’s natural and a wonderful feeling to feel hungry as you get closer to lunch or dinner time. You WANT to feel hungry! That is your body’s signal that it’s time to eat again.

Work towards reducing sugar and other processed foods

The typical person now eats processed foods all day long. Breakfast might be a bagel, muffin, oatmeal, toast, cereal, or yogurt.

Lunch is often a sandwich, pizza, or a frozen meal. Maybe a salad. But these days it’s often a convenience type food that doesn’t offer much nutrition.

Dinner is usually pasta or rice. Some protein. Some vegetables. Or take-out or going out.

In between our meals are candy, cookies, protein bars, smoothies, chips, sweet coffees, or you name it.

Here’s a tip. You can safely eliminate every processed food named above forever. You don’t have to though. But it will benefit you in the long run if these foods aren’t taking up much space in your diet.

Instead eat real food. Any kind of protein you like. For a woman that is usually 4 to 6 ounces of meat or two or three eggs.

Eat most veggies to your heart’s content. Add healthy fats or oils so that your food tastes amazing and you don’t get too hungry until it’s time to eat again.

You can add some extras as well. Nuts, olives, and avocados add healthy fat and flavor.

I like to have a little higher carb. Food with my lunch and dinner. Half a potato or sweet potato. Other higher carb foods are beets, winter squash, carrots, and fruit.

You don’t have to do this all at once. Work on one meal at a time. Your food journal will help you keep track.

Add walking or some other relaxing exercise daily

I like to move my body every day in some way. I walk as much as possible. When the weather is good, I love to walk outside. When it’s too hot or raining I do in-home walks. 

For me, walking is the best way to deal with belly fat. Belly fat is normal in women and we’re all going to have some. But walking definitely helps me to feel more comfortable.

I also recommend other gentle workouts as well as some strength training. Other people love to bike or swim. There is some kind of exercise that you will love.

Exercise is not a way to punish our bodies for eating too much. It doesn’t even have to be a big calorie-burner.

Exercise provides a ton of benefits and it helps reduce stress.

This is important. Reducing stress may even help you lose weight because it can bring the hormone cortisol down. Raised cortisol can lead to weight gain.

I personally love fusion workouts that combine cardio, strength, and stretch. Barre workouts are an example of this.

Here are some of my favorite workouts that can help with weight loss.

Celebrate all your wins

Wins don’t just happen on the scale! You know what else is a win?

  • Keep your food journal every day
  • Not snacking for a day
  • Every single time, you keep to your plan
  • If you go off plan, you get right back to it
  • You go for a walk
  • You try a new workout

These are all WINS my friends! And it makes a huge difference to note them and celebrate them.

They don’t just happen. They happen because you change the way you thought. You made it happen!!!

You did. Every single little change you make is powerful.

Plan and allow for some fun food

It’s okay to have some fun food in your life. It’s important to have an allow for this. Have a meal out once a week and just enjoy yourself.

Write it down though. Over time, you’ll be able to figure out how much you can have and maintain your weight.

When you are trying to lose, you may want to avoid too much of this. For me, eating out will usually show up on the scale and I know this. I know it’s not permanent and I don’t sweat it.

Here’s some things to keep in mind. Avoid foods you know will set off an eating binge. If you can’t eat a few chips, then don’t eat a few chips knowing you will finish off a big bag.

If you are going to have a treat, make sure it’s a true treat and savor every bite. In general, have a planned fun food once or twice a week.

You can always do less of this and occasionally you may do more. You’re in charge here.

No matter what you do, don’t quit

This is the most important tip of all. Don’t quit. You are learning about your mind and your body. You are making big changes.

There are no mistakes—just experiences. There is no law that says you have to lose weight in a certain amount of time. The most important goal is to learn to eat in a way that supports your body and allows you to feel great.

As you learn what food does to your brain and body, you can make adjustments that work for you.

You will also learn that fun with family and friends does not depend on eating certain foods. In fact, you’ll learn to have connections with people not based on food.

One day, you’ll not really even have to think too much about it. Your habits will simply be a part of your life.

Enjoying food and not being afraid to eat it, will be a part of your normal life and you’ll feel all kinds of amazing feelings. You’ll feel in-control, proud, committed, authentic, and strong.

So, don’t put off losing weight until the new year. You can start right now making changes and you can do it at any speed you want.

I help women do this and I know you can do it too! Feel free to schedule a free consult call if you have any questions or want to work one-on-one on your goals.

Additional Ideas to Help You Lose Weight Before the Holidays

Add healthy fats and oils

Most women do not eat enough of the right kinds of fats and oils. Low fat diets just don’t work.

Not only that but fat is actually a NUTRIENT. Our bodies need it in sufficient quantities to properly function. It also makes food taste good.

Concentrated processed food is the real culprit in weight gain. It’s that bread, pasta, sugar, and things like that, that cause us to gain weight even when we don’t overeat.

Change out those processed foods with vegetables and healthy fats. Start adding a tablespoon or two to your meals.

Some fats you can use are: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, avocados, nuts, and butter or ghee.

Eat more vegetables

This is one thing that continues to be true. We all can benefit with more vegetables in our diets.

Make vegetables the star of your meal. Eat as many different kinds as possible in as many colors. These help fill you up and provide lots of nutrients.

Instead of pasta or bread, have half a potato or sweet potato. Carrots and winter squash also have a higher carb content that can give your meal a little more oomph.

Eat protein in moderation

Protein is an important nutrient. I’m not a vegetarian and can’t advise on that.

For meat, look for the best quality. You don’t need to eat a lot. 4 to 6 ounces per meal is usually sufficient for women.

For quality, look for grass-fed options on beef. Pastured for chicken or pork. All lamb is pastured. Eggs should be free-range or pastured as well.

At first these might seem expensive. But they are better for you and you don’t really need that much.

Focus on quality over quantity

As I get older, I notice that I don’t need to eat as much to feel full. That means that every bite needs to matter.

Instead of filler foods, I concentrate on eating real food that provides nutrition. That’s why I recommend sticking with the basics, with occasional treats.

Just a reminder. This is not intended as medical advice, it is meant to be informative and an example of what I do and why. This may not be the right thing for you right now because of health reasons. I also use simplified descriptions of body functions at times to make this easier to understand.

Just a reminder. This is not intended as medical advice, it is meant to be informative and an example of what I do and why. This may not be the right thing for you right now because of health reasons. I also use simplified descriptions of body functions at times to make this easier to understand.

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Keep showing up my friends,



I'm a certified life and weight loss coach who helps women feel better and get the most out of their lives! The process of life coaching teaches you to love yourself and gain self confidence in a safe effective way.

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.