The most exciting time of the year is upon us. Or is it?
Most of us think of Christmas time as happy, joyful and full of laughter but studies show that this time of the year can be the most stressful.
Between family issues, travel, stretched finances and overall chaos, holiday weight gain can be the last straw that breaks the camel's back.
Hopefully this article will help you navigate the next few weeks in a way that will at least reduce your stress related to food/drinks, and help you stay on track.
How to stay on track during this Holiday Season?
1. Reframe your story
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
"I always gain weight this time of the year"
"I will get back on track as soon as New Year comes"
"A few more holiday parties and I will be back on my diet"
"I just can't help myself when I see these cookies Jane baked"
"It's Christmas time so I have to have this"
"It's a special occasion and I'm going to have it"
"It's so hard to say no"
Remember, if you tell yourself that you always put on weight, and that you can't control yourself around food, guess what's going to happen?
But you have another choice.
You don't have to feel powerless and out of control. And you don't have to wait till New Year to start changing things.
So how exactly re-framing works?
What we think, we feel and we behave so by changing the narrative you can change the outcome.
So this year, try to tell yourself a different story.
"I will not gain any weight this year. I've worked too hard to compromise it. I know what to do and I can do it".
"Christmas time is no different than birthdays, vacations and anniversaries. I've succeeded then, I can succeed now".
"I am going to listen to my body and eat only when hungry. I will not restrict any food groups. I will eat slowly and mindfully enjoying every bite."
"Most Christmas foods are really not that special. I can have them whenever I want to so I don't need to behave like I will never have this again in my life".
2. Check your facts & daily behaviors
Christmas time is NOT the only time you can drink, have cookies and cakes, and lots of food. The year is filled with plenty of occasions where you can overeat and drink till you pass out.
Using Holiday time as an excuse to have more than you need is a great sabotaging technique.
Also waiting for a New Year to make changes.
You don't need to fast on Christmas Day, or spent hours at the gym every day to prevent weight gain.
Most of the behaviors that lead to weight gain over the Holidays are small habits that you can change right now. Let's look at some examples taken from my clients.
Small yet powerful behaviors that can lead to weight gain:
- drinking less water
- snacking more
- eating less vegetables
- adding more sugar throughout the whole month, not just a few days
- cutting one or two days of exercise for the whole month
- forgetting to meditate and de-stress
- eating fast
- having more alcohol daily
3. Go back to the basics
Use these 6 tips to stay on track:
eat slowly and stop at 80% full (for weight loss) or 100% full (for maintenance) - this rule applies whether you are having a McDonald's or a home cooked meal;
eat protein with every meal - at big meals I suggest you eat your protein and veggies first, then only if you are still hungry have whatever you want until 80-100% full;
eat vegetables with every meal;
drink at least 2/3 of your body weight in ounces;
snack only if you are hungry and go for a protein rich choice (such as eggs, turkey slices, veggies with yogurt dip, etc.);
move daily - every minute counts and anything is better than nothing;
4. Don't forget what Holiday Season is all about
Aside for various religious reasons Holiday Season is about family, friends and celebrating togetherness, not food and drinking.
Hope you enjoyed this article and will find it useful during the Holidays.
I wish you all health, happiness and peace of mind.