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Thrive During The Holidays, Not Just Survive

Ah, the holidays.  It is a special time of the year.  It means many things to us.  For many, it takes the religious meaning of the season.  For many, it is a time to express our appreciation, give to others, volunteer, spend special time with family and friends.  It can also mean excesses in terms of food and food choices.

Does it make sense that we more or less stay on track for the majority of the year and then in a period of a few weeks, jeopardize our success?  It doesn’t have to be that way.  There is a high percentage of weight regain during the holidays.  Our bodies don’t realize that it is the holidays.  To our bodies, a calorie is a calorie whether it is in March, May or December.  Excess is excess regardless of the time of year.

To thrive during the holidays doesn’t mean we have to restrict ourselves.  We need to eat in moderation and make smart choices.  You don’t need to pass up every single thing that you want to taste.  It does mean to kick in our healthy habits and continue to exercise and eat with tastes rather than piles of food.

Do you realize that the first three bites of a food are the tastiest?  Your taste buds are heightened and you enjoy fully the first three bites.  After that, you switch into eating more because you want that feeling from the first three bites to continue.  Pay attention the next time you indulge in a treat.  Stay very aware with each bite.  After three bites, does the intense flavor and enjoyment tend to decrease?  Three bites won’t undo your success from the rest of the year.  Promise yourself tastes of your favorite holiday foods.

Here are some other helpful holiday hints:

* Make a promise to yourself that you will NOT make a food, diet, cut back, food restriction type of resolution for January.  This mindset of anticipation a cutting back or dieting can set you up for “going for it” types of overeating during the holidays.  As you enjoy the holidays, keep your long-term goals for weight loss and maintenance in the front of your mind.

* Anticipate food pushers.  You know, your Aunt Flora or Cousin Ruth that believe the holidays are not complete unless you eat this or that.  Reflect on the past and become aware of the obstacles that are ahead when you join others for holiday celebrations.  Think ahead to these food pushers and how you will respond to them.  Remember, they aren’t standing by you when you weigh yourself or try to fit in your favorite outfit.

* Think ahead and plan for your favorites.  What are your holiday favorites?  Don’t reject them but plan for them.  Identify your triggers, plan on your choices and the quantity of those choices.  Decide ahead of time what you will eat, how much you’ll eat and what isn’t worth it to you to eat.

* Take charge of your choices.  For a bring your own dish types of parties, bring your own weight loss surgery healthy choices that are your own favorites.  You’ll know there is something available for you to eat that you enjoy.  It will take the anxiety of falling into making poor food choices because of limited healthy dishes.

* Avoid “now or never” or “all or nothing” thinking.  Remember that there aren’t any food choices that are restricted to the holidays.  You don’t need to stuff yourself thinking this will be your one and only opportunity to enjoy all of your holiday favorites until next year.  If you avoid this type of thinking, it will help you to avoid eating that you wouldn’t otherwise.

* Use your mouth to talk and not just eat.  Do more talking with people at holiday functions.  The holidays are about people, celebrations, and socializing.  Have fun with people and not the food.

* Bond with your food log.  Don’t get distracted and lose your inhibitions at parties.  Remember that whatever it is you eat will be entered into your food log.  If you don’t want to see it in black and white, don’t eat it.

* Remember the next day.  You’re in the moment and faced with choices you might not normally have to make.  Don’t allow yourself to indulge or lose your commitment to your healthy lifestyle.  Rather than get down for what you can’t eat, be happy for all the things that you can do now without the excess weight.  You can fit into smaller clothes, you’re accomplishing things in your life you haven’t before, and feel the difference you feel now from the heavy feeling you had about yourself and your life before losing weight.

*Create new non-food traditions.  Sure, the holidays are centered around food.  Change your holiday traditions to include traditions that have nothing to do with food.  Organize a walk with your family and friends to look at Christmas lights, dance to your favorite holiday tunes, take a walk together before the big holiday meal, put a jigsaw puzzle together (keeps your hands, mouth and mind busy!), and any other non-holiday ways to spend together.

*Fulfill and celebrate yourself in other ways.  Don’t allow the holidays to happen to you as a victim of the food circumstances.  Plan and create the holidays that reflect the new you.  Create the experiences and celebrations in ways you want.  Set goals for the holidays such as maintain your weight or even lose a couple of pounds.  Fast forward to January 1st….weight yourself….celebrate and feel the huge accomplishment from being and staying on track during the holidays.  Now, that’s a real celebration!!

Believe In Yourself,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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