The holiday season can be challenging for those of us who want to lose weight because they are full of stress and yummy temptations. We think “It’s just the Holidays” and feel justified in indulging in cookies, candies, and other high-calorie comfort foods. But then January 1st comes around, and along with it, weight gain and regrets. Keeping your weight in check can seem impossible, but there are ways to stop gaining weight over the holidays.
Here are 14 tips that will help you keep holiday weight gain to a minimum and even lose a few pounds by the New Year.
- Focus on the true meaning of the holidays. What do you want to achieve this holiday season? What do you truly value? How can you make connecting and caring about others your priority and still take care of yourself?
- Plan ahead, or plan to fail. Think ahead and be prepared for temptation. Find ways to distract yourself from overindulging and stay focused on your plan. You can give yourself permission to have one mindful bite or a small portion of the food you crave. Slow down, savor it, and enjoy it.
- Record your food intake. Studies show that those who log their food intake lose more weight than those who do not. Logging your food helps you stay conscious of the choices you are making. This puts an end to forgetfulness or denial.
- Increase your physical activity. The holidays can throw off your exercise program. Keep in mind that all physical activity counts. Try to add physical activity throughout the day, such as walking, taking the stairs, lifting weights, stretching, etc.
- Bring your own food. When attending parties or gatherings, bring healthy food to share with others. That way you are sure that you can eat healthily, and this will help you be more likely to stay on track.
- Watch your portions. Pay attention to what you are eating and the quantity of food you are consuming by filling your plate up before you start eating, rather than grazing.
- Limit your alcohol. Alcohol lowers your inhibition thus silencing your wise mind and healthy inner dialogue. All the fruity drinks and punches have lots of sugar in them. Be mindful of the beverage you choose the alcohol content and the calories. Choose not to drink away the allotted calories for the day.
- Drink Water. Recent studies found that when people drink more water throughout the day, they end up eating fewer total calories. Keep a glass of water in hand at parties, sip water between bites, and remember to drink 8 glasses per day to help prevent overeating.
- Stop the “last supper” mentality. Don’t act as if it’s your only chance to eat. With every food that crosses your path, remind yourself that you’ll have plenty of chances to taste or eat this or that particular food later. Be aware, and only eat if you are hungry.
- Give yourself permission not to eat out of obligation. Don’t waste calories on food you don’t really like or that isn’t very delicious. If you politely accept a co-worker’s cookies or homemade dessert and it’s not very tasty, you can stop eating it. No one will fault you for saying you just wanted to have a taste.
- Slow down and savor each mouthful. Chew your food slowly and enjoy the experience of eating. You’ll digest your food easier, eat less, and feel more satisfied. To prevent overeating remember to eat before you are ravenous.
- Don’t give up. It’s easy to go over your calories one day and feel like a failure. But remember that it takes much more than one day of overeating to thwart your progress. Accept your slip-ups, learn from them, move on, and start afresh. Keep persevering.
- Stay focused on your goal. Before you take a bite or hit snooze instead of hitting the gym, remember your goals. It’s going to take extra effort during the holiday season. We are off our regular schedule and there is greater temptation to eat unhealthily. Before you act, ask yourself, “Will this help me reach my goals?” If not, make another decision. And remember YOU are in control of what you choose to eat and drink, including the holidays!
- Focus on people. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? At parties and gatherings, enjoy good conversation and activities instead of hovering around the food table. Concentrate on creating lasting memories that don’t revolve around eating, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out. You will feel emotionally connected and fulfilled instead!
To help you stay on track, you can download my weight loss mp3 or purchase my book “Lose Weight:21 Winning Tips. Begin a Healthy mindset and Lifestyle Change!” If you would like one-on-one weight loss care, I also offer a 6-session personalized Weight Loss Program.
May you and your loved ones have peace and joy this holiday season.
Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey,
Isobel McGrath is a licensed International Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Certified Hypnotherapist located in St. Augustine, FL.
Isobel provides therapy, counseling, life coaching, and hypnosis in person at her St. Augustine Beach office, and through Telehealth. She is dedicated to providing exceptional, collaborative care, and truly cares about her clients and their well-being.