Three Simple Ways to Eat Smart This Holiday Season and Avoid Those Extra Pounds

We’ve all been there, standing in front of a mirror, realizing it’s January first and it’s time to face the morbid truth of our holiday splurge. We tip-toe to the bathroom and step gingerly on the scale (because maybe a lighter step on the scale means a lighter number also), peek through our fingers, and then aghast, in wide-eyed horror, we gawk at the number that appears. We take off our underwear, socks, and any jewelry and try again, becoming even more frustrated because the number actually went UP 0.2 pounds. Yes, we have all experienced this as well as the fleeting moment of regret and urge to just forgo the entire plan and reach for the leftover cookies.  So how do we avoid this agonizing moment?

November begins the official holiday season (or is it October with those aromatic pumpkin spice lattes) and with the season, many grapple with the over-indulgence of home cooked foods that they just can’t seem to say no to. Many approach the month with goals (which is great) but those goals fade with each nibble of whatever decadent dessert tempts them from the cubicle next door. So how do we enjoy those holiday parties and avoid the shopping trip for a bigger sized jean come January? We avoid the temptations from November-December in the first place!

Here are three simple ways to eat simply this holiday season and avoid those extra pounds:

  1. First, understand the difference between “feeling like it and commitment.” In one particular Mondays with Madi, this topic is explored in more detail. “Feeling like it” means  we do things because it’s convenient. “I want to work out, but I had a long day at work, the kids have homework, and I have a slight headache.” Commitment means we do things, especially when the circumstances are difficult. “I will wake up at 5 a.m. to exercise because tonight is bound to be difficult.” Commitment means we drink that smoothie for breakfast and bypass the bagel with cream cheese, because we made a promise to avoid high fats/carbs. So to begin a successful holiday season, we must make a list of things we are committed to, and it must be a very serious contract one signs. Complete and sign the contract and then share it with someone who cares enough about you to call you out when you are not following your commitment list! Avoid choosing someone who will placate you (sometimes that can even be your spouse). Choose someone who will hold you accountable (another reason to seek out a wellness coach to aide in your success.)
  2. Secondly, reward yourself for small victories. If you chose the carrots over the carrot-cake, reward yourself. And no, not with food. Try rewarding yourself with something completely unassociated with food: a soothing bubble bath, a dollar per day that you exercise, etc. The point is, celebrate even small victories so you feel good about the progress you’re making and make sure you’re surrounding yourself with others who celebrate you too.
  3. Lastly, you have to do the work of making smarter food choices as well as being more prepared. One rule to abide by is have a small snack or meal-replacement shake BEFORE heading out to celebrate with friends. This will help you avoid over-eating. Also, you are less likely to eat junk food if you eliminate junk in your home! You can’t reach for cookies if all that is available are crunchy vegetables!

Now, is this food-lover suggesting to avoid foods you love this holiday season all-together? Absolutely not. In fact, depriving yourself is worse than allowing smaller plates of what you love! Remember that you CAN fall in love with healthier foods however, and choose (more often) to eat those!

So this holiday season, when those pumpkin spice lattes, cream-filled donuts, and homemade “whatevers” tempt you, remember that it feels much worse to regret than to sacrifice. Do you feel like eating healthier? Most likely not; however, you will do this because you are committed to a healthier,happier you. No cookie will ever taste as good as success!

We all need help maintaining during this time of your. Let me help you. Join our holiday “Fit & Festive” challenge today. This holiday season does not have to defeat you.