Refuse to Regain!

We’ve all seen the cartoons and memes, and maybe you’ve seen yourself in the mirror in years past. It’s truly “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” but the holidays can also be very stressful for many people. And, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, stress often equals weight gain. This is especially true for those of us who use food as a way to cope with stress. Add to that the constant barage of holiday treats, and our willpower is  put to the ultimate test.

average-holiday-season1Make the holidays a bit easier on yourself by being realistic in your goals. Don’t plan on huge fat loss during party season. Instead, look at a sensible one to two pounds per week, or maybe even give yourself permission to just maintain your current weight throughout the holidays. Regardless which route you choose, let’s declare this the year that holiday weight gain is banished forever!

No, I’m not stark raving mad. I’m just committed to my health, and you should be, too. There’s absolutely no reason why holidays have to be synonymous with weight gain. Read on to learn how you can create a new tradition this year and remove yourself from those awful holiday weight gain statistics.

Moderation Is Key

Setting out to deny yourself every single holiday pleasure will make you and those around you miserable. But, allowing yourself total indulgence will quickly add inches everywhere you don’t want them, and take a toll on your health. So, make a plan, and then stick to it. Perhaps you need to become a food snob. Only the most amazing desserts garner the honor of passing through your lips. Only the fluffiest homemade rolls are worthy of your palate. Or, if it comes from a box or a can, you’re not interested. This way, you won’t fall for every sugar-laden concoction that Joe brings into the office breakroom or every store-bought temptation that Aunt Sally lays out at her Christmas Eve Finger Food Bonanza.

Another option is to set guidelines for how often you’re permitted to go “off plan” with foods that aren’t on your approved meal plan. Maybe for you during the holidays, it’s a limit of one dessert per week, or one roll at Christmas dinner. You can totally enjoy the things you love without derailing your success. But, you must think it through beforehand so that you go in with a plan. And, then stick to it!

Lastly, save the alcohol for special occasions only. And, then, only have one glass of wine, beer or a mixed drink. Start the party with a full glass of water, and switch to a libation only after you’ve finished it. Then, after your drink, if you feel you simply must have keep a drink in our hand, keep filling that same glass with water. Add a splash of lemon or lime to make it more festive.

Journal Your Journey

This is key to your success…now and even when it’s not the holidays. Every single thing that goes into your mouth gets written down. Yes, that even includes the single bite of Tommy’s mashed potatoes that you finished up for him rather than scrape it into the trashcan. When you know ahead of time that you have to write it down, there’s a lot more thought that goes into whether or not you really should be eating it. And, it’s also very easy to track how well you’re sticking to the guidelines for moderation that you established.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Skipping it not only leaves you without much needed energy, but it puts your body in fat storage mode. At that point, you could eat nothing but a plate of broccoli and still store it as fat. But, chances are, when you skip breakfast, it’s not a plate of broccoli that you’ll be eating for lunch. No, instead, you’re more likely to be overeating…and all the wrong things. Don’t go there.

Make An Appointment With Yourself

We make appointments with our co-workers, with our physicians, even the hairstylist. So, carry that forward and make fitness appointments with yourself throughout the holiday season. And, NEVER cancel. You’re far more important than any doctor that charges a fee for cancellations. And, if your schedule is really jam-packed, take advantage of the ways you can multi-task your exercise. Park farther away at the mall. Make extra trips up and down the stairs. Stand up whenever you’re on the phone. Walk to the mailbox instead of taking the car.

Count Nutrition…Not Calories

Your body runs on nutrition. And, when you skimp, it asks for more. Unfortunately, we interpret that as cravings…for junk. So, set yourself up for success by making sure that you’re eating plenty of whole foods, especially low glycemic vegetables. Eight cups daily is the minimum. Plan your meals around vegetables, with protein as your side dish. And, don’t forget about snacks. Always carry something with you. It’ll keep you from stopping for something with minimal nutritional value, or binging later in the day. Easy on-the-go snacks are almonds, carrot sticks and other cut-up vegetables, apples, bananas, TLS Nutrition Shakes and Choice Energy Bars. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget the importance of hydration. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water is the minimum. For fat loss, that number goes up to half your body weight in ounces. Drink throughout the day to capitalize on all the benefits of a well-hydrated body.

Get Your Beauty Sleep

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. Momma really did know best when she said that you needed a full eight hours. Lack of sleep is connected with weight gain, which makes it even more important during those times when we are allowing ourselves little indulgences in our eating.

Learn To Say “No”

You don’t want to come off as rude, but it’s really ok to not accept every single invitation for more food, sweets or alcohol. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured just for the sake of the hostess’ feelings. A simple, “No, thank you” or “Everything was delicious. I couldn’t eat another bite” goes a long way towards conveying your appreciation for the hostess without adding inches to your middle. It’s all in the delivery. Put a smile on your face and be gracious. After you practice a few times, you’ll find that it’s not really that difficult.

Most importantly, remember that one bad day isn’t the end-all for your successful journey. But, when you allow yourself to repeat bad choices again and again, they once again become your habits…those same habits that got you to the point of needing to lose weight in the first place. Acknowledge behaviors and forgive minor indiscretions, but then renew your commitment to putting your health first. And, then stick to it. You are worth it!

~Coach Teresa

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Tom Gibson