It's that time of year again!
Not everyone enjoys the holiday season but I think almost all of us are subject to the endless opportunities to eat.
There are so many nostalgic dishes that are hard to resist!
So much temptation!
So many reasons to just give in and eat to your heart's desire!
So how do you avoid holiday weight gain?
The following are the steps we walk our clients through to prepare for the holiday season.
- Set specific and realistic goals.
- Understand your "whys" for wanting to achieve those goals.
- Commit to your actions and thoughts.
- Outline specific steps for each goal.
- Allow for the unexpected.
- Have your "recomit" tool ready.
- Be kind and forgiving to yourself.
Now, let's go through each step in more detail.
Set specific and realistic goals
What do you want to accomplish?
Do you want to lose weight? Or do you want to just maintain your weight?
Do you want to stay healthy?
Do you want to eat less sugar?
Do you want to feel in control?
Do you want to be active?
Do you want to feel proud of yourself for making nutritious choices?
Spend some time brainstorming ideas and write them all down.
Choose the ones that resonate the most.
Make sure the ones you chose are realistic!! This is absolutely essential.
Then get really specific about each one.
The more realistic, measurable, and specific your goals are, the easier it will be for you to reach them.
If you want to lose weight, set a goal in pounds, inches, or body fat amount.
If you want to stay in control, define specifically what that means to you.
If you want to eat less sugar, what does that mean? Does it mean only one piece of pie on Thanksgiving? Or does it mean only 3 treats per week in December? Make it very measurable.
Understand your "whys" for wanting to achieve those goals.
Now for each goal write down WHY you want to achieve it.
What's in it for you?
You can list the more "superficial" reasons such as, "I want to look good in my jeans".
But also make sure you list the deeper ones such as, "I want to feel good about myself." or "I want to give my body the care that it deserves." OR "I want to feel energetic and strong."
List ALL of them.
Be really clear on your "whys".
Your "whys" are what will give you that extra bit of willpower in those weaker moments.
Commit to your actions and thoughts.
Sustainable change only happens when we commit to making those changes.
Keep in mind that you can't control outcomes such as your weight or how much energy you have.
But you can control your actions.
So, when you are committing, make sure you are committing to actions or thoughts only!
So, if your goal is to lose weight, don't commit to "losing 5 pounds".
Rather, commit to whatever will help you lose weight.
Just say out loud, "I commit to (insert the action or thoughts here)".
For example, "I commit to walking every day for 15 minutes."
Or "I commit to eating vegetables and protein first at every meal."
Or, "I commit to only eating a small portion of dessert at any event I attend."
Sometimes thoughts are more important than actions so make sure to include those as well.
For example, "I commit to reciting my "whys" every morning and evening."
Or "I commit to reminding myself before every event that I don't have to eat sweets to enjoy myself."
Or "I commit to distracting myself with something positive whenever I have a craving."
Your thoughts precede your actions so make sure to pay special attention to them!
Outline specific steps for each goal.
Just as you were specific with setting your goals, you need to be specific with the steps needed to fulfill your goals.
If your goal is to eat only a specific amount of sugar each week, how will you do that?
What steps do you need to take?
First, maybe come up with some alternatives to your usual sugary fare.
Do you need to buy them or prepare them?
Plan the exact steps.
Then the next step may be to plan your week and see where there will be opportunities to eat sugar.
Maybe you don't really care about the cake your coworker will surely bring after Thanksgiving but you really want to enjoy your mother's apple pie.
Now you are becoming a discerning eater.
Rather than feeling sorry for yourself for not gorging on cookies, you can take pride in the fact that YOU get to choose your food and YOU get to define what nourishment looks like for YOU!
That feels empowering.
Walking through the specific steps will boost your success dramatically! I promise!
If you want to see how to do that, watch this video of the session we did on how to use imagery and your inner mind to build a new habit.
Allow for the unexpected.
It's not a matter of IF you will have difficult moments or unexpected disturbances, it's a matter of WHEN.
Whenever you make a plan, you have to expect the unexpected.
The question is, how will you handle it?
If you end up not fulfilling your commitment for one or two days that does mean you give up and wait for January????
Allow yourself the grace to "fail" and move on.
It's part of the process!
And when you have challenges or "bad moments" or "bad days", take the opportunity to learn.
How did you react?
What can you find that was positive?
If there is a recurring challenge maybe your goal or commitment is unrealistic.
What can you do differently?
How can you plan better?
What mindset shift needs to be made?
Challenges are learning opportunities!
Rather than blaming yourself, be curious!
What can you learn?
Have your "recommit" tool ready.
After you have done your due diligence, get ready to recommit!
The "recommit" is a tool.
And it is available to you at any time.
We did not learn to walk in a day.
A baby practices and practices walking over and over again for months.
The baby doesn't wake up and say, "This walking thing is too hard!"
The baby recommits every single day to figure it out.
And so should you.
Remember your "whys"?
If this is truly important to you, you will muster the courage and strength to forgive yourself and recommit.
And last, but certainly not least:
Be kind and forgiving to yourself
I learned a great tip today from Dr. Reji Mathew. She said, "Strive for perspective-ism, not perfectionism". I love that idea!
One of the most common issues we hear from new clients is that when they get off track they feel guilty and then it takes them longer to get back on track.
The attitude of "I messed up so bad already, why not just make it a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad year."
That's the opposite of being kind and forgiving to yourself.
That sounds like punishing yourself.
It's okay to make mistakes.
It's okay to get frustrated.
It's okay to be disappointed.
But the question, is (again) how do you deal with that?
How about starting with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to yourself???
What a novel idea!
Follow these tips and I'm sure you will have an easier time maintaining or losing weight this holiday season.
If you need more support, I invite you to get on a free call with me to explore your goals and challenges and see if one of our programs is a good fit for you.
Just click the link below.