Holiday Weight Gain: Knowledge vs. Implementation
During the holidays, people are aware of what they should or shouldn’t be eating, and aware of how much simply snacking on alternative healthy snacks can make a difference in holiday weight gain. But, few make the move to implement this practice.
When people are time constricted, in convivial carefree spirits, and there are festive foods and drinks all around, it can take a huge amount of will power and motivation not to over indulge and gain weight.
Here’s the thing: food and drink tips are obsolete if we cannot implement them. What to do? Here is a 3 step approach that is practical and smart.
- Develop a new perspective. The holiday season is no time to expect herculean will power. Accept that this time of year you are at a high risk for holiday weight gain and for not maintaining your fitness goals. Be realistic. Have a plan but do not be too hard on yourself.
- Develop a plan for weight maintenance. Ironically we have a plan for most everything in our lives but when it comes to health maintenance we expect a healthy weight should come naturally. Dieting is outdated thinking so forget about super low calorie restriction as research shows many people end up increasing their body mass index even further.
- Develop an off course plan. Many people are stuck in the self berating system of punishment for overindulgence or poor eating practices. They may engage in silly behaviors such as longer and more difficult workouts, as well as severely restricted daily calories. Do the opposite. A few days of poor eating and drinking practices calls for a few days of pampering ourselves. It is difficult on the mind, body, and soul to feel out of control of our normal routines, so why would we punish ourselves further? My off course plan: One day of low intensity exercise such as walking, biking or strolling outdoors. Then, also do the following:
- Lots of water including my favorite Pellegrino mineral water.
- Reading time that gets me thinking forward again.
- A warm bath just prior to bed and before an early 6 pm dinner.
- Early to bed and lots of rest.
My Personal Plan for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain:
- Make a weekly schedule of parties/dinners attending.
- Plan on exercising longer the day of the event. I use this technique not as a calorie burner but as a confidence builder. I am less apt to eat and drink poorly if I feel good about myself. Exercise is a confidence builder and keeps me centered.
- Schedule tennis or another activity with a friend the morning after an event. I disappoint myself if I feel I played poorly due to poor eating/drinking habits. For me competition is a huge motivator to eat and drink modestly
- Lastly, I consistently ask myself what I want to feel like when the holidays are over. I never want to feel I am beginning over. I understand how food and drink overindulgence can change life’s outlook on life, and I know there is a direct correlation between what I eat and drink and how I feel about life. It makes all the difference.
- If I overindulge I am quick to get right back to my regular routine and even throw in a little self pampering. Research shows that people who quickly get back to their dietary routines and exercise are the most successful at maintaining their health and their weight. See step 3 below.
Considering dietary tips to prevent weight gain during the holidays is important. But what is more important is gaining a healthy lifelong perspective and having a few individualized tactics to help you along during “high risk” times such as the holiday season. Consider spending time during the holidays to find your own motivation and create an individualized plan of health and happiness for you.