Updated: Nov 11, 2019
It's November and we're on cusp of all the extra temptations that come with the ensuing holiday season. I've felt that I gained 10 pounds over holidays past, but truth is that as Americans we actually don't gain that much weight between Thanksgiving and the New year (we average about 1 pound of weight gained), but the rub is that most of us don't lose what we gain, and over time, it adds up over the years.
Plus, and I'm not trying to be a total bummer, you're not getting any younger - and as we age, our metabolism slows down, making it harder to maintain and/or lose weight. And I'm not trying to point fingers... but us gals over 40 - we have noticed this fact- amIright?!
So.. why not plan ahead and not gain that extra pound in the first place?!
It can be done! And you can still enjoy the treats that come with the holiday season too!
Have a plan of action (POA)!
Why a plan? Because it's smart. Do you start a long distance road trip without knowing what roads to take?
So - how do you plan for the holiday's sans extra pound(s)?!
First - Know or figure out what your goal is... Knowing what you want to achieve will help you know how to achieve it.
(Hint: Don't make your goal to lose weight - knowing the temptations that will be around every corner, you'd likely be setting yourself up to fail.)
I'll share my 'holiday season' goal as an example. "I want to stay exactly where I am right now (waist-wise) and not gain any fat, especially around my middle. If I happen to lose weight, great, but it will not be my focus through the end of this year. I just want my pants to all still fit comfortably when 2020 arrives."
And make your goal have meaning to you! When you have a goal that doesn't feel important to YOU - you're not going to achieve it. Why? Because if you're not emotionally invested, why would you work towards it? I'll use my example to illustrate my goal's importance to me.
I get really frustrated with myself when my pants don't fit comfortably. 1 - it is physically painful. 2 - it's a negative reminder that I've not taken care of myself by eating well and exercising consistently. 3 - it's expensive to have to go out and buy new pants! Now is not the time to spend money on myself! Plus, when I'm at my optimum size/weight, I know that I actually feel better! I have more energy to do things and I'm a happier person. This is why it's important that I have a POA to get through this holiday season, so that I don't go 'off the rails.'
Second - Make a plan! What actions are going to support your goal? Knowing what you know about the next 7 weeks, how will you achieve the goal?
A plan of action is literally going to give you steps to take to ensure that you stay on track to meet your goal. This is true any time of the year, but it's especially going to be essential for getting through the holiday season, when extra helpings, eggnog, grandma's cookies, cocktails, and even more sugary treats in all shapes and sizes are presented to you on a nearly weekly basis.
Ideas you can use in your own POA below:
Use your calendar to write down all the engagements you know of as of now, including work luncheons, happy hours, girls nights, and of course the holiday parties and family gatherings. Continue to add as you get invites, so you know what's coming and can plan accordingly. (I use the old fashioned type paper planner to keep track of my events!)
Each week, plan out your meals and shop for them before the week gets started. Keep in mind your calendar of events - if you know that you'll be at 1 or 3 events that week, you can plan your healthier homemade meals accordingly.
Need help tracking your meals/grocery list/recipes? There are a dozen apps out t there, but I've found AnyList is a great one that has an app for the phone and the computer. Plus it is easy to use.
For every event you attend, think about how you want to enjoy it? I.e. Is it an all nighter where you kick your heels up with no rules? Is it a stay for an hour and have 2 drinks, and eat 1 cookie? Or something in between? Consider how you want the night to be in advance, this will put you in a better position to enjoy yourself, without mindlessly overindulging or staying out too late.
Having an intention going in, will not ensure you're going to adhere to your own rules, but you're likely to be more mindful about what you're consuming, and hopefully that intention will remind you of your goal and your why.
Try to avoid going to any party on an empty stomach. Have a healthy snack before you go, so that you're not famished when you arrive and eat all the things too quickly. And if they don't serve food right away, you'll also avoid having alcohol on an empty stomach, which increases your appetite and decreases your impulse control.
Keep moving! Just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean you should give up going to the gym! This is a great time to go - less crowds! And it'll offset some of your party-eating and it'll make you feel generally better (you know, endorphins and all).
Nobody said you have to say yes to every invitation! Pick and choose which events you attend according to your energy, availability and party-saturation levels.
And get plenty of rest so that you're not getting overly tired and compromise your immune system so that you can enjoy all of the festivities you do want to attend.
So what will a typical week look like? Break it down. Write it down.
Sunday - plan meals for the week, include lunch and breakfast and go shopping (or have it delivered). Need some inspiration? Check out my Whole30ish page on Pinterest (these meals are low on simple carbs, 0 added sugars, and contain healthy fats that keep you full for longer).
Knowing what you'll eat each day of the week and incorporating the above tips, you'll toast the arrival of 2020 in the same pants you wore in 2019, comfortably!
If you're interested in help with these actions for yourself, I'm offering a 30%-off special now through November 15th on my 6-session coaching packages! Contact me here if you're interested, so we can get started ASAP!