Many of us feel that the holiday season is one long season to indulge! Come January first, many of us will be returning to our scales to see that we have gained 5, 10 or even 15 pounds that we had worked so hard to keep off over the year. Did we really work so hard all year round to give it all up in one month?!! As the season approaches, I’m constantly being asked how to keep those extra pounds from sneaking back on over the next month. I’m sure most of you will agree that it seems that weight is sometimes difficult to lose but creeps back on over night! Of course there are those who say indulge over the holiday season and watch the rest of the year. While I’m an advocate for the occasional indulgence, having your weight yo-yo up and down throughout the year can put you at risk for many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Some people even become stressed out over the thought that all their hard work is going to go in the trash because of the holiday season. Keep your stress at bay with some tips to get you through till the New Year comes and you are back to your normal routine.
1- Don’t strive to lose weight during the holiday season
Deciding to start an adventure to make yourself healthier may keep you on tract this holiday season but don’t set yourself up for disappointments. Although I’m always an advocate for changing your nutrition and lifestyle habits to lead a healthier life, make your goal to maintain your current weight instead losing weight. Setting realistic expectations will help you stick to your new lifestyle instead of ditching it upon the first hiccup.
2- Don’t ditch your healthy lifestyle!
Now of course we will hear many people say you should indulge over the holiday season and to “live a little”. Now while I agree to a point, you should not ditch your healthy lifestyle all together! Holiday eating should be reserved for the actual holiday- not every day leading up to the holiday. One way to make it through the holidays without feeling like you let it all go completely is to plan to indulge on Thanksgiving and Christmas day but stick to your usual routine on every day leading up to and after those holidays. This includes not only regular consistent meals comprised of nutritious foods, but also your regular physical activity. If as your reading this you are saying, I didn’t have a healthy lifestyle to begin with- it’s never too late to start! While I don’t recommend trying to lose weight during the holidays there is no reason you can’t start to change your lifestyle. Try starting by creating a small goal for yourself and once you have achieved that goal, create another one to build on the first.
3- Don’t give in to peer pressure!
We have all heard this before “Why are you on a diet it’s the holidays!” or “You don’t need to be on a diet you look great the way you are”. When encountering these people just remember your end goal, whether it is to maintain your healthy lifestyle or to start a healthy lifestyle, and kindly but firmly say no thank you to the food item at hand. You have no need to explain your reasons, a simple “No thanks” will do!
4- Don’t obsess over perceived failures
If you made goals for your healthy habits during this holiday season and you slip up, don’t crucify yourself over it, instead get right back on that horse the next meal or snack and keep it going. The biggest mistake people make when they eat something outside of their lifestyle plan or miss a workout is they keep it going for the rest of the day, week or even month. When you do this, you turn what could have been an extra half pound gained, that could possibly even out over the rest of the month, to 5 or 10 pounds gained when the behavior continues. Get right back at it and let it go- don’t mentally beat yourself up over it because that’s not healthy either!
Still not sold on indulging during actual Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner? Here are some tips to get you through the meal without eating a 2000 calorie meal!
Don’t skip meals prior to the big meal.
Eat turkey! Choose the skinless white meat cuts instead of the dark meat and skin.
Fill your plate with vegetables. Afraid that there will be no healthy vegetable options? Be the one to bring them – trust me you will realize others have similar goals in mind and will thank you!
Practice mindful eating! Don’t hang out near the table with the appetizers, snacks, food or desserts as you will subconsciously eat more! Read more about mindful eating here!
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some fruit after dinner.
Deal with leftovers- if your hosting the party be prepared with to-go boxes to send people home with food so you’re not stuck with all those leftovers in your refrigerator.
Involve your family in an after dinner walk or football game.