With the big holidays quickly approaching, you may be starting to worry how to keep your health and weight in check. You want to have lots of energy and maintain a healthy weight in order to be the best version of myself. However, maybe you’re a sucker for sweets and lack self-control, or you doubt yourself and don’t know how to stay healthy when there are lots of tempting foods around. Let’s dive deep into your mindset so you can approach the holidays with a strong game-plan avoid weight gain.
1. Getting Up To Move Throughout The Day
Even if you have a desk job or find yourself sitting for most of the day, building in a few minutes of walking can help stave off weight gain during the holidays.
Set an alarm on your phone for every 2 hours to stand up and do a few laps around your office or to walk up and down the stairs a bit.
Even 10 minutes of movement sprinkled into your day 3 times adds up! Think of that- you’ve already moved for 30 minutes!
2. Not Letting Exercise Be A Reason To Justify Eating More
If you’re someone that is instead, not afraid of workout programs and exercise at the gym, you may convince yourself that you can splurge on unhealthy foods because you “deserve it.”
You may find yourself saying; “I worked out today. I can justify eating more.”
Rather, think of exercise as a gift for your body. You are improving your cardiovascular fitness and overall health and longevity.
Use food for fuel when you’re hungry, not as a “reward” because you burned enough calories to justify eating thickly frosted cupcakes and ice cream.
3. Investigating The Source Of Your Cravings To Avoid Weight Gain
Ever find yourself searching your pantry or the fridge for chips, then chocolate, then candy…etc?
It can feel like you’re never satisfied with what you’re snacking on and before you know it, you tell yourself that you’re already so far into the binge, you might as well keep going.
Instead of letting yourself fall off the bandwagon, identify the root of the underlying craving.
Are you craving something salty? Sweet? Crunchy?
Are you actually feeling an emotion and not really having a craving for food?
Are you tired?
Are you thirsty?
If it’s a true food craving, try to brainstorm a healthy option. Salty and crunchy? Try a teaspoon of nut butter with some carrots. Sweet? Try a few slices of an apple or an orange.
If you spend a few minutes investigating your craving and notice that it’s really an emotion, how can you find a non-food substitute for it instead?
Maybe you’re lonely or bored. Call a friend, journal, or pick out a fun book that will distract you from the kitchen.
4. Not Letting Stress Be An Excuse to Eat (Or Drink) Like Crazy
Did you have a long day at work?
Are you exhausted and tired?
Is planning for the upcoming holiday adding stress to your life? (If so, catch up on these extra holiday survival tips!)
While the impulse is engrained biologically in you to go to food for comfort (your brain actually rewards us with a flood of neurochemicals), let’s pause for a second a think about the aftermath effects of using food to cope with your stress.
How do you feel AFTER you dive into the pint of ice cream or box of cookies that you promised yourself would just be for your spouse and kids?
Imagine how that food is going to sit in your gut and how it will affect your energy.
You’re already stressed, exhausted, and defeated from the day. Do you really want to add on bloat, guilt, and feelings of being a failure?
Skip the food and instead play a meditation podcast, roll out your yoga mat, or put all of your distractions away in a quiet room and journal about how you’re feeling.
5. Letting Special Foods Convince You To Overeat
… “But I never get to have Omi’s special rhubarb crisp dessert!”
… “I just can’t say no to Donna’s cheesy potato casserole dish. It’s the BEST!”
While I have nothing against grandma’s cooking or your sister-in-law’s famous side dish, you may find yourself using these special foods to over-indulge.
Start with 50% of a normal serving onto your plate and choose a small plate as well so your serving size looks more proportional. If your utensils are large, only load a little bit onto your fork and spoon and savor every bite that you take.
If you want to have a second helping, follow the same pattern so you only end up eating 1 serving of each food item than twice the amount.
6. Letting Guilt As An Ungracious Guest Drive Your Eating
The holidays come with a lot of pressure as a host/hostess AND as a guest.
With all of the food preparations, decorations, organization, and execution of holiday meals and desserts – as a host- you want your guests to feel warm and welcomed into your home. You also want to be hospitable and offer them all of the things you have created and organized.
As a guest, you want to be gracious and not come off as being rude by receiving what your host/hostess is offering you. (Read my other blog post on: How To Be A Gracious Guest WITHOUT A Tray Of Cinnamon Buns)
However, it is important to find the balance of being polite, accepting, and also in alignment of your health goals.
It is completely OKAY to say; “thank you, maybe later?!” or; “thank you, i’ll wrap some up to take home later” in order to dispel the direct pressure of having food or a beverage that you may not want.
This way, you are receiving the offering from the host/hostess without saying “no” but are also being conscious of your health and weight goals around the holiday season.
Whether or not you follow-up and take the food home later is up to you. If you do, but know it will tempt you to give in and over-indulge, don’t hesitate to “donate” it to another friend who may enjoy it.
Sometimes the biggest challenge with preventing weight gain over the holidays is dealing with YOU and YOUR MIND. By incorporating movement into your day and substituting thoughts of over-eating with healthier non-food substitutes or strategies to defer the decision to eat until later, you can improve your chances of staying on track with your weight and health over the next few months.
Need help sticking to your healthy habits during the Holiday Season?