Weight loss during the holidays is a big ask. In fact, for many of us, it feels like an impossibility. That said, with the right strategy in place, it is possible. However, many doctors are now recommending that throughout this time of the year, it’s healthier to set aside lofty goals of keeping up progress that is more achievable throughout the first 11 months. During December, it may be better for the physical and particularly mental health of many of us to focus on avoiding gaining body fat, instead of trying to continue burning off the excess.(more…)
Before getting started, it’s important to acknowledge that efforts to stop holiday weight gain should not be at the top of your list this year. There are far too many things going on. The last thing you need is to take moments of enjoyment and celebration and turn them into experiences of guilt and struggle. This is meant to be a happy time of year, but it’s also a busy and stressful one. Remember that you deserve to relax and enjoy yourself, too.
There is a difference between making an effort to stop holiday weight gain and filling your head with it. Yes, it’s most certainly important to practice mindfulness. Your nutrition and physical activity level are vital to your overall wellbeing and physical health. However, when it comes to enjoying specific days of celebration, give yourself the opportunity to let go and enjoy them. If you’re focused on treating yourself well throughout the year, one day per month isn’t going to set you back so far that you can’t quickly recover.
If you spend celebration days focused on trying to stop holiday weight gain, you’ll feel frustrated, deprived, and likely won’t keep up your healthy efforts over the long term. That would be a shame as the true value in what you’re doing is in the long term, not in what you do on specific holidays.
All that said, it’s still important to avoid falling into the trap of letting go of everything throughout the entire season. You can stop holiday weight gain while still sitting down to a Christmas feast on December 25th. However, if you’re feasting regularly and a handful of cookies have become a part of your everyday life throughout November and December, that’s where the problems may lie.
Use these tips to help keep yourself on track while still enjoying the special days of celebration this year.
You may keep up your traditional dishes on the big days, but what about the days in between? What about what you’re doing with leftovers? Consider making healthy holiday meals on the days surrounding the big events. That way, you’ll still feel festive and will be treating yourself and your loved ones to special foods throughout the holidays, without overdoing it.
Once you’re done your healthy holiday meals, head outside to walk in the snow and look at the lights on the houses. Make it a brisk enough walk to get your heart pumping, but take the time to look around you, too. Check out what your neighbors have done with their decorations. Think about how all the different styles create a beautiful neighborhood that shines in the darkness. This will be great for both your mental and physical fitness.
You may not be able to plan everything to stop holiday weight gain throughout the next month, but you can plan some things. For instance, you can plan your breakfasts. Start your day off right with nutrition and the intention to avoid feeling hungry and ready to snack. Plan your lunch and, if possible, bring it with you. This avoids the inclination to get take-out.