Stop Beating Yourself Up Over Holiday Meals

| Hillary Rotunda

Every holiday season, many people are giving up on their healthy eating habits because of the large meals they are planning to consume during the holidays. While you may attend a thanksgiving or two and meet with both sides of your family for Christmas, these few indulgent meals are not going to affect the healthy habits that you have had all year. Here is why:

  • One pound = 3,500 calories. Let us say that on average, you eat 2,000 calories in a day. This is what your body is used to digesting daily. To gain one pound of fat, you would have to eat 5,500 calories in one day. While this is possible, it is still a massive number of calories for the average person. Consuming more calories for just one meal will not disrupt your body’s regular metabolism.1

Of course, being mindful of what you put in your body, even if it is just one meal, is important. So here are some tips for being able to enjoy, but not go completely overboard in your meals:

  • BALANCED Eating. It is not to be said to avoid the “bad” food such as the cookies and cheesy potatoes. Instead, when you choose to take a cookie, also take a helping from the vegetable tray as well. This will help fill you up and make you less likely to go back for that second cookie.
  • Get Your Beauty Sleep. Sleep is important for so many reasons, but one is to help combat weight gain. Getting enough consistent sleep around the holidays helps regulate hormones, specifically ones that help regulate your appetite. Lack of sleep can cause cravings of those salty, sugary foods, especially late at night.2
  • Move-Even If It Is Minimal. Around the holidays, spending quality time with family involves sitting and catching up, watching football, playing games, etc. During commercial breaks or when people are getting refills on snacks, do anything you can to get your body moving. Walking up and down the stairs a couple times, offering to walk the dog, or even washing dishes.
  • Avoid Beating Yourself Up. It is common to feel like you have gained weight from a big holiday meal. However, canceling it out by going on a crash diet or doing a crazy workout can be more detrimental. You may deplete yourself of necessary nutrients or cause your metabolism to be slowed down, which can lead to long term weight gain. Having the mindset of punishing yourself for eating a big meal can cause an unhealthy relationship with food that can lead to disordered eating.

Most importantly, enjoy your time spent with family and friends. Happy holidays!

In health,

Hillary Rotunda

Hillary grew up being active her whole life. After playing many sports, she settled on volleyball and softball, which she played through college at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. While at Concordia, she earned a double major in exercise science and nutrition. After she moved to the MN twin cities area after college, she earned her certified personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine along with a certified strength and conditioning coach through USA weightlifting. She found passion in motivating people to reach their goals by finding a personalized nutrition and exercise plan that worked best for them. She has worked with clients 1-on-1, as well as small group classes. She looks forward to continuing to grow her knowledge base and help people achieve their health and wellness goals through Live Your Life!

In her spare time, Hillary can usually be found at the gym, playing volleyball, or coaching softball. During the summer, she participates in many sand volleyball leagues and tournaments. She enjoys Minnesota summer activities, such as rollerblading, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. She loves playing board games with her friends and family and trying any new recipe she can find.


1 Ratini, Melinda. “What Your Doctor Really Wants You to Know about Weight Loss.” WebMD, WebMD, 27 Aug. 2020,

2 Stuart Quan, MD. “Too Little Sleep and Too Much Weight: A Dangerous Duo.” Harvard Health, 7 Oct. 2015,,increase%20in%20hunger%20and%20appetite.

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