We’ve all heard the stories. The ones that say that the average person gains a whopping 7 to 10 pounds during the holiday season. That from November through December 31st, you’re doomed to gain weight, feel bloated and crawl into a champagne glass filled with self-loathing.
Some of us take it for granted that this is a time of a little indulgence and others of us feel a sense of dread knowing that every time we go out, we’ll be faced with platters of cookies and alcohol served freely from every corner.
For some, the temptation brought about during the holidays can bring more than weight gain – it can bring back the return of symptoms we’ve fought hard to reverse throughout this previous year.
So, what do you do?
Well, let’s first start out with some facts.
Although media would like to make us think that the holidays doom us to bloat and weight gain – the truth is that studies have shown that the ACTUAL amount of weight we gain during this time is only about 1-2 pounds. So, if that piece of pie you ate last weekend is still haunting you – it might be time to let it go.
The real problem with holiday weight gain is that the extra pound or two you build up this year, becomes a pattern year after year and ultimately adds up.
Even though most of us have some incredible intentions starting January 1st, the extra pound or two we might build during this time fights to claim its space on your body and stays put.
Which means that while you don’t have to beat yourself up for the occasional sweet or rich food, it does mean that you still need to be mindful of what you’re doing because while it might be easy to put on, it’s not always easy to put off.
At the same time, for those of us who have health issues that are triggered by the foods we eat, the holidays can be particularly tricky to navigate.
We might think that having “just one” or indulging “a little bit” won’t hurt, but what happens is that before we know it, we’re feeling sluggish, sick and uncomfortable from even the smallest morsel.
It can take days to undo some of the smallest steps and we quickly begin to dread our next time out where some well-meaning friend simply urges – “You have to try this!! Just one.”
And even though this all might be a little like tough-love-facts, the truth is that you can navigate the holidays and feel the strongest and best you have in years.
Here are a few simple strategies that you can employ:
1) Make A Plan
Now, I know this seems simple and obvious, but how many of us really do that at this time of the year. It can be easy to overindulge in food and alcohol when we get wrapped up in the fun – so, creating a go-to plan can be essential.
One of the key components to your plan is make sure it works for you. This isn’t about denying yourself or feeling like you’re being punished. It’s about honoring what you know can work for you.
All too often when we feel deprived, our brain will rebel, and we indulge twice as hard.
It’s almost like our inner two-year old comes out and stomps its feet demanding that it be noticed. Knowing that ahead of time can help you build a plan that feels satisfying.
Whether that means having a simple bite or rewarding yourself in other ways (my personal preference), when you create a plan that YOU buy into, you’ll be able to relax more and enjoy your surroundings.
2) Keep Moving
One of the best ways to avoid throwing in the towel is to keep moving. If you’ve had an exercise routine throughout the year, don’t abandon it now. And if you haven’t started, there’s no time like the present.
Keep in mind that movement doesn’t have to be rigorous. Simply getting outside for a walk, playing a game of basketball with friends or running around with your kids can be enough.
The point is that when you remember to move, you’re remembering to put yourself and your needs first – so that when you approach any holiday environment (which can be stressful for a lot of us), you’ll feel so much stronger.
Even if you have that nagging voice telling you that you’re tired or there’s too much to do, remember this – there will never be a time that you regret getting up and going to work out in some capacity!
3) Begin Your Weight Loss/Maintenance Plan Now, Not in January
Call it tradition, call it habit, but most of us are attached to this idea of setting New Year’s resolutions. We put off taking care of ourselves or setting goals until the clock strikes 12:00 a.m. on January 1st.
But, the truth is that most New Year’s Resolutions fail. So, why keep doing the same thing over and over?
How about this year, you start an End-of-Year Resolution?
Even though that may seem counterintuitive and hard to do in the face of holiday festivities, the truth is that starting now can give you an extra boost. Instead of competing with others to see who’s doing what, you’ll be ahead of the game and working toward your goal in a way that feels empowering.
A neat trick you can use to is to think of all the things you’re NOT going to do when it comes to weight loss.
I will not beat myself up for truly enjoying a meal
I will say no to at least 3 food items I KNOW are not in my plan this week
I will not sleep in and let my excuses keep me from the gym.
The idea is that when you set up boundaries in this way, it becomes easier to keep your promises and begin your weight loss program today.
To help you get started on your weight loss or maintenance program today, I am offering a holiday discount to anyone who is ready to get a jump on the New Year in December. Just mention the code HOLIDAYBLOG and you can receive a 10% discount on all of our weight loss programs if you begin before December 20th.
And if you need any other tips or have questions on simple strategies for the holiday, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.