Let’s face it: it is hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays. Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites. When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as our scales are concerned.
The good news is that you really can get through the holidays without gaining weight. It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around and you have no regrets!
Your Goal: Balance
Your goal may be to greet the New Year without tipping the scale, while still enjoying the holidays and not being miserable from deprivation. This means that you will allow yourself occasional treats and splurges while still maintaining healthy habits.
There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Don’t skip your workouts. You need this calorie-burn to keep up with the richer food that you will be eating. You will also be less likely to overeat if you have just sweated through a hard workout! A 55-minute class at The Fit Yard will give you the most efficient and effective workout possible in minimum time.
- Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.
- Track your food. Use an app like MyFitnessPal to track every single thing you eat—even if it is only one bite of shrimp cocktail. It is a proven fact that keeping a food journal or tracking your food results in better weight control than not doing so.
- Monitor your hunger. Never show up at a party or buffet ravenous—you will most certainly overeat. Drink water and have a protein and fiber filled snack or mini-meal such as a Quest Bar or grilled chicken and veggies before arriving. This will help you to have more self-control around the temptations.
- Weigh yourself once each week. While the scale isn’t the only measure of our health and fitness during the holidays it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals. If you see the scale start to creep, you can immediately take steps to correct it, such as backing off your calories for a day or two, drinking more water and adding in a little more exercise.
- Watch your portion size. If you have an idea of how much food you are putting on your plate, you will be less likely to overdo it. Take a look at this chart Using Hand for Portion Size to familiarize yourself with portion sizes as they compare to your hand.
- Deal quickly with leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge. Don’t leave them sitting around. Freeze them, give them away or toss them. It’s not worth the temptation!
- Check in with your future self. Every day, speak to yourself from the future—say, from January 1. Thank yourself for doing the tough work of self-discipline during these holiday weeks. You might say something like this:
“Thank you! I feel great! I’m no heavier than I was in November, I’ve stayed on track with my exercise, my energy is incredible and I’ve got the momentum to spend the rest of the winter getting in even better shape before spring gets here!”
- Go public. Sound scary? It’s supposed to! Let others know what your current weight is and check in with them each time you weigh yourself. That kind of intense accountability will give you will power when the cheesecake and fudge starts showing up at the office!
You can survive the holidays with no added weight gain. Remember these tips and keep a vision of what you want to feel like on January 1 in mind. It’s going to be a great holiday season!