One of the most dreaded seasons is soon to be upon us – the period of time between Halloween and New Year’s Eve: The Holiday Season. These next 8 weeks tend to be some of the most challenging for those watching what they eat and living a lifestyle designed for weight loss. Temptations are around us at all time: from home, the office breakroom and gatherings with family and friends. So, how do we keep ourselves honest? How do we not succumb to the temptations around us? It’s not easy, let’s get that fact right out there. It takes commitment, conviction and a plan. Let’s talk about practical ways that we can be sure to not only stay on program during the Holiday Season, but also not allow others to negatively influence our decisions. After all, this is our life and we get to be in control – so STEAM ahead to success.
To stay focused takes a great deal of conviction. You will likely face many obstacles along your weight loss journey; however, those obstacles can only take us down if we let them. How, then, can we stay focused throughout the holidays?
Have clearly defined goals. Try using a technique called “SMART” set goals that are:
The SMART system allows us to be specific and provide something to quantify how we’re doing. For example, setting the following series of goals can help keep you on tracks:
- I will walk at least 112 miles between November 1 and December 31 (that’s just 2 miles a day on average)
- I will not skip any meals in an event to “save” calories, but rather, stick my regularly chosen meal plan.
- I will make a plan for dinners outside of my home in an effort to stay on target; I will stand firm to my plan as I deserve it.
Have a plan and stick to it. Continue all of your healthful habits that you’ve established such as packing your lunches and snacks for work as to not be tempted by treats in the breakroom. For gatherings with friends and family perhaps offer to prepare something which you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.
Be firm and assertive with your decisions. Often people confuse this behavior as being “controlling,” or, “not being able to let go.” Quite the opposite. You are standing your group, politely, and creating the space you need to be able to live your life and be in control. Pressure from our family and peers can be challenging to manage, but making a plan to manage it is the key to success.
It’s ok to enjoy yourself and have a cheat day, or a slip up; be sure to forgive yourself and just pick right back up the next day. However, there are a number of ways to enjoy yourself during the holiday season that has nothing to do with food:
- Strick up a conversation with an old friend or coworker
- Take an after-dinner walk with family and reminisce while sharing stories
- Play a family/friend game before or after dinner as a way to engage your favorite people
Activity is Key
Make a plan to stay active. It’s well documented that physical activity is important for our health, but what’s also well documented is that physically activity is key to maintaining any weight loss. And, while we may become lax with our eating, if we are sure to stay on top of our physical activity, it’s a stronger predictor to maintain our weight loss. Need help staying active during the holiday? Check out this link.
Planning out meals, including those which we may choose to cheat, is part of planning. And when a solid plan is made it’s easier to stick with. Part of being successful in weight loss is planning out all aspects. It takes time, but when we write something down we’re more apt to stick with it.