When it comes to your weight and your health, planning is everything. “If you fail to plan you plan to fail”, and this is even truer during the holiday season.
Leading into Christmas, Thanksgiving treats and other limited-time seasonal goodies are bound to be on your mind. Even if you’ve been consciously watching your weight and training hard, the seasonal creep of tasty treats might come calling.
When Pumpkin-Spice mania hits, many people find their motivation dwindling, and they give in to a few too many treats. Come New Year, they’re beating themselves up for the months-long splurge fest of candy corn, mashed potatoes, and Christmas cookies.
Luckily, fall doesn’t have to cast an evil spell on your waistline! Here are a few easy tips to keep you safe from a swan dive into the eggnog.
KNOW WHAT LIES AHEAD
If you know you’re headed to the pumpkin patch where hot chocolate and apple cider doughnuts lurk, prepare yourself. If you have room in your caloric budget, factor the treat into your daily allowance.
If you plan on abstaining, prepare yourself both mentally and emotionally to gracefully withstand the temptation. This includes biting back any remarks that you might make to family or friends who do indulge - no one likes a sore loser.
Remember that dietary decisions are very personal, and any projection is ultimately frowned upon. Remind yourself that the decision to not partake is yours alone, and any disappointment shouldn’t be taken out on others.
PLAN FOR TREATS
The holiday season is, in part, about indulging. While the focus of the holiday season should be on family, friends, and traditions, food plays a part in those traditions and holds a strong sentimental allure to all of us. Food doesn’t need to be excluded from gatherings, but having boundaries will help keep you on track.
Plan on eating on most occasions if possible. Eat small portions and eat mindfully. If you know that trigger foods will be present, set clear and definite boundaries for yourself before you arrive.
For example, “I can have one dessert, but only one”, or “I can have a protein, veggies, and one side, but not all of the appetizers.” Planning ahead helps prevent impulsive decisions that you’ll regret later.
USE REAL ACCOUNTABILITY TOOLS
Rather than hoping for the best and setting vague goals, aim to keep your diet and workout routine as normal as possible. Outside of family gatherings and celebrations, plan to eat your typical number of calories and types of foods each day, and continue to monitor your weight.
Having a realistic number is important, so remember to weigh yourself each week at the same time and keep track over time so that you can catch any slip before it becomes a bigger problem later down the road.