12 Tips for Conquering Holiday Weight Gain
You’ve made it through Thanksgiving. But we’ve still got a month left in the holiday season. You will likely have several more opportunities to indulge yourself with family and friends (socially distanced of course). And for many, that makes it tough to maintain a diet or to avoid tacking on a few extra pounds over the course of the holiday season.
What can you do to help yourself? Here are 12 tips for conquering holiday weight gain.
1. Bracket these weeks as not normal.
Delicious food is everywhere during the holidays. The temptations are numerous and constant,
our willpower quickly gets overwhelmed. Willpower should not be considered a useful tool
against holiday delights, so go ahead and acknowledge that this time of year is not normal and
a little different.
2. Set a beginning date and an end date for holiday eating.
For some people the beginning is Halloween starting with any leftover candy. For almost
everyone Thanksgiving is definitely included. New Year’s Day seems to be unofficially the end.
It will be helpful to see this period of time as not part of ordinary life but with a clear beginning
and ending. Ordinary life will come back ultimately. By establishing your timeframe for holiday
eating in advance, you are acknowledging that you will need specific rules for this period, in
addition to your routine strategies for avoiding weight gain.
Beginning date: __________________
End date: _______________________
3. Plan to resume your ordinary life.
Make your post-holiday appointment with your coach before you enter the holiday eating
period. Most people who gain weight during the holidays are a little ashamed and the last
person they want to see is their health coach. The thought of “I’ll go in to see them after I’ve
lost some of this weight that I have gained” can easily turn into never getting back on track.
Date of health coach visit: __________
4. Planning ahead is still your best strategy.
We make better choices if we have thought about it beforehand and made a plan. When you
go to a holiday party or gathering, you probably have a pretty good idea what you will find.
Think about what you are going to eat and drink before you get there.
5. Don’t go hungry.
If you can, eat before you attend a party. You’ll be able to exercise much greater control
because you won’t be starving. If you can’t, load your plate with protein and vegetables first,
wait 15 minutes, and then contemplate the carbohydrate temptations.
6. When you arrive at a party, do a surveillance run.
If there is food out, walk around and see what there is. Then you can choose which foods you will eat and which foods you will not consume. Never start at one end of a long buffet table with an empty plate! Once you have put some food on your plate get away from the food table.
7. Keep portions small.
Sometimes it is the idea of the food rather than the food itself which appeals to you. See if just a bite will make you satisfied. If you put a big portion on your plate, odds are you will eat it.
8. Don’t eat anything that isn’t awesome.
Face it. You can’t eat as much of anything that you want. You are going to have to make choices. So don’t eat food that tastes just “meh.” Only eat the good stuff, such as homemade cookies and not store-bought brownies.
9. Monitor your holiday spirits.
Not only is alcohol a source of fattening and nutrient-free calories, but it makes us more careless in our choices. Try this strategy — after each alcoholic drink alternate with a glass of water or a sugar free non-alcoholic beverage.
10. Be social.
The real reason for a holiday gathering is to enjoy the company of other people. Move away from the food table and talk to people. You may have such a good time you don’t think about eating!
11. Don’t beat yourself up.
The holidays present a unique challenge and you may not do everything exactly as you planned to. Don’t worry. You’re not perfect, so just get back to your normal eating habits as quickly as possible. It will be okay.
12. Set a holiday weight goal.
Setting a goal with your health coach before the holiday season will help remind you of these tips to stay as healthy and committed as possible during this time.
Post-holiday weight goal:___________
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