“Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season is Coming and My Diet Will Be Blown!”
We end every year with a bunch of holidays and festive activities that are centered around food. I’d argue that it’s the best holiday food and treats of the year. We hear statistics about average weight gains from the period starting with Thanksgiving and ending on New Year’s Day.
Some are staggering numbers like 15 or 17 pounds, some are moderate, 3 to 5 pound gains, and some studies report slight gains of just a pound or so.
No matter which one of the stats you believe or applies to you, the one common thread from any or all of them is that holiday weight gain is inevitable.
What happens to even the most determined effort to lose weight when the belief is holiday weight gain is inevitable? The inevitable happens. It happens without us even being active players in the weight gain game. A subtle shift takes place in the brain. The thought changes from, “I can do this,” to “I’m going to gain weight because of the holidays, so what’s the use?” It alters your behaviors just enough so that you get what you expected – a weight gain.
You can get through the holidays, enjoy the holiday treats and lose weight!
The statistics are meaningless because they are only tracking weight gains. The reality is weight loss happens too, but nobody is tracking it or talking about it. Whether or not it gets media attention doesn’t change the reality that people can and do lose weight throughout the holiday season.
I did and you can too! Here is how:
1. This is corny and it works, “Believe it to Achieve it!”
Your success is directly linked to your belief in your ability to be successful. We are not talking about trying to do something really difficult or humanly impossible. Your goal is simply to maintain a slight calorie deficit so that weight loss can take place. Belief is your best weapon in the battle to lose weight.
2. Get enough sleep!
Sleep needs to be a priority. There may be a few late nights and a few early mornings but do your best to avoid burning the candle at both ends. Adequate sleep keeps you mentally sharp, enhances your ability to make good choices, helps to regulate your hunger and satiety hormones and helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Sleep is your biggest ally in the battle against excess body fat.
3. Be a bit of a jerk – arrogant, selfish, petty, impatient, and cynical – are not considered positive personality traits, but they play a role in weight management.
- Arrogance supports the belief that you can succeed where others fail because you’re better and smarter, and more capable than most.
- Selfish people think about themselves first and you can be selfish without being mean or hurting the feelings of others. it’s okay to say, “no, thank you,” to food pushers. It’s okay to say, “I’m going home to bed now,” to people trying to talk you into staying out too late.
- Pettiness keeps you paying attention to the small stuff. During the holiday season there are a lot of BLTs going on – Bites, Licks, and Tastes. Track all the little stuff, menial, day-to-day eating that’s easy to go unnoticed. That stuff adds up fast!
- Impatience isn’t about being in a hurry to get to goal; it’s about being impatient with the excuses that get in the way of getting to goal. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself to recognize when you’re making an excuse to either take away the responsibility of your action or to allow you to make a choice you will regret later. Have zero patience for excuses!
- Cynical people don’t fall for weight loss scams. You might be tempted to blow a couple hundred dollars on the “non surgical gastric bypass” so that you can eat as much as you want and it won’t get absorbed. A cynic can spot a scam a mile away. There is no quick fix, no miracle cure, no easy way to get results without doing the work.
4. Be picky about what you eat and drink.
There is a lot of food and drink available but when you really stop to examine what’s being offered you’ll see that some of it isn’t very special. You have a budget of calories and every food has a price tag. Carefully consider how you want to spend each precious calorie and avoid wasting them on things that aren’t really and truly extra-special.
5. If you’re active, stay active; if you’re not active, get active.
Moving is a good way to burn calories. When you increase your activity is like giving yourself a bonus check. In other words, a little extra activity gives you a little more freedom to eat and/or drink a little more for the holidays while still staying on track with your goal to lose weight.
It’s not realistic to expect your weight loss progress to be as good as during times of the year when there are fewer challenges. This isn’t a “full speed ahead” time of year. If you want a little wiggle room to experience the special meals and treats you can’t expect to be losing at the same rate as when you are rigidly adhering to a weight loss plan. Shoot for 70-75% adherence and don’t plan to increase your activity to make up completely for all of the indulgences. It’s possible to hurt yourself with too much exercise. Just move more to retain balance, moderation and flexible restraint.
Happy Holidays and here’s to you and a Slimmer New Year!