Nervous about losing control and gaining those unwanted extra pounds during the upcoming holidays? It can be difficult to find that nice balance of indulging in the treats that come around only once a year, and not losing all of the positive progress you’ve made. But the balance is possible! Here are 5 tips for enjoying the magic of the holidays without feeling like you have to start all over again with your wellness journey come the New Year.
1. Be realistic and patient with yourself, and set the right expectations. Attempting to begin or make huge forward progress in a weight loss journey during or right before the holidays will likely set you up for failure and disappointment. And that discouragement going into the New Year will take away from your momentum to get back into the swing of things again. It’s a huge win to maintain the same weight throughout this time of constant treats, temptations, and potentially interesting family dynamics :) It’s more than ok to shift and re-evaluate your goals depending on what’s going on in your life.
2. Don’t beat yourself up if you have an overindulgent meal or even day. One day of overindulging won’t cause weight gain. What will cause weight gain is the guilt and shame spiral. If you have one bad meal or day of eating and think “I’m so stupid, I have no willpower, I’ve already blown it, I might as well keep going,” that’s where the trouble starts. Release the guilt! Show yourself some compassion, and move forward.
3. Go into holiday parties having already eaten a nutritious meal or snack. If you go to an event hungry, you are going to be so much more tempted by all of the goodies surrounding you and will be relying on sheer willpower, which we have limited amounts of. If you are already full and satisfied, your desire to indulge will be much lower.
4. Don’t tell yourself you can’t indulge at all. Instead, set the intention of letting yourself try 2 or 3 of the treats at the event or gathering. Scan the room, choose the 2 or 3 things that look the yummiest, and allow yourself to fully savor and enjoy them, by eating them slowly and mindfully. This way, you will feel satisfied, not deprived or guilty. Same thing goes with alcohol. Set your intention before the event of how many drinks you want to have, and stick to that number, enjoying them slowly throughout the evening.
5. Incorporate movement into your family time. With all of the sit down meals, football games, and holiday movies, we sometimes forget to move our bodies! If you can’t make it to the gym or keep up with your regular exercise routine during this busy time, find fun ways to move with your friends and family. Go for a walk or bike ride together, sign up for a Thanksgiving day race, set up a game of flag football in the yard or nearby park, go sledding or ice skating, have a snowball fight, or play a game of Wii sports. The possibilities are endless!