It happens every year around this time. The days get a little shorter, the air gets a little cooler, and the jeans start to get a liiiiittle tighter!
Ready or not, it’s almost time for the feasting to begin. Thanksgiving is just days away, and of course, that’s after we’ve just polished off our stash of Halloween candy. Then there’s the Christmas office party, New Year’s festivities, the Super Bowl parties, and pretty soon we’ve added a few pounds and/or inches to our waistline. With all this working against us, have we any hope at all?
OF COURSE WE DO!
In fact, with a few simple steps, it’s entirely possible to maintain your health and fitness and still enjoy your holidays, so that the only packing you’ll be doing won’t be to pack on the pounds, but packing your suitcase for the trip to Grandma’s!
1. PLAN AHEAD – The first thing is to know your schedule. Yes, it will be busy, but don’t use that as an excuse to go hog wild on all meals. There will be times when you will indulge, so go right ahead (within reason!). During all your OTHER meals, however, planning in advance will keep you on schedule. It’s also good to give yourself some “ground rules” ahead of time when out at parties. For example, if you know Aunty Sue makes a killer cheesecake and you WILL be indulging tonight, tell yourself before leaving the house that as a trade-off, you will forego the candied yams, and maybe go light on the gravy or stuffing.
2. DON’T SKIP MEALS – You’ve probably tried this before, but not only does it tempt you to eat too much when the time arrives for the “BIG ONE”, but it also messes with your blood sugar levels and your metabolism. While doing this ONCE probably won’t hurt you too much, over time, skipping meals just to make room for the feast is a very unhealthy practice, that can and often does, lead to OVER eating.
3. DON’T HANG – Avoid loitering at the source – the FOOD table! Or, worse, the DESSERT table! This creates a scenario for eating just because the food is “there”. Fill your plate with the foods you enjoy that are healthy first (turkey, veggies). The healthy stuff can be your larger portions. Then leave a small space on your plate for the “extras”, and WALK AWAY. In social situations, you may feel “forced” to sample a piece of every dessert that was brought over to the party (after all, it’s home-made!). If this is you, then take bite sized pieces and have a sampling of several varieties, rather than full-sized portions. Remember, YOU control the food, not the other way around.
4. MOVE! – Physical activity is so important, but especially during the holidays! Take a walk, play with your kids, or workout at home or in a gym. A little exercise each day is a MUST! It will boost your metabolism, build muscle, and reduce STRESS, something that will come in handy now, as well as throughout the rest of the year! Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution to be made AFTER the damage has been done!
5. GRAB SOME ALLIES – Success comes easier in this arena if you are able to find an accountability partner. Find someone who is also trying to maintain control of their weight. You’ll have each other’s backs and will be much more likely to succeed. You can even make it into a friendly competition!
Related: Buddies Boost Motivation
6. SOCIALIZE – Conversations are calorie-free! Have a good time, centered around those you love, and not just around the feast. Slow down, enjoy the food, but also the company you’re with. With any luck, you’ll learn a little something about a family member, or even make new friends. You might even invite someone to begin working out with you after the parties are over and the routines start settling back to normal again.
Remember, the holidays are meant to celebrate good times with family and friends.
Enjoy yourself and plan effective strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goals and you will hit January 1 with the delight that the needle on the scale barely budged at all! Achieving what you sought out for will give you one more good reason for holiday cheer!
I hope these tips will help you stay on target to meet or exceed all your goals, post-Thanksgiving, or all year long!