Buckle up, the holidays are here! This time of year can present many challenges when it comes to eating well and staying physically active. With a little planning you can enjoy all that the holiday season has to offer and start the year off right.
- Make a weight goal for yourself for January 1st.
The average weight gain over the holidays is about 3 pounds, although it may feel like more. The problem is that most of us never lose those 3 pounds and over years of holidays that little 3 pound weight gain becomes exponential. It is good to keep a weight goal in mind and weigh weekly to check in with yourself along the way. Even better is to set specific weekly doable behavioral goals for yourself to follow. Including things like “I will have a fruit or vegetable with each meal” or “I will walk 30 minutes 4 days a week during my lunch hour” or “I will plan 4 dinners and have the ingredients on hand”. Look at your week ahead, pick 3 specific things you can do each week to stay on track.
- Don’t lump all the holidays into one long holiday.
It’s tempting to just say what the heck and let it all go starting Thanksgiving Day and on through New Year’s. Keep it in check. Enjoy each holiday – thoroughly, savor every bite – but don’t let them stretch into each other creating one long extended holiday. If you get off track for one meal or even an entire weekend, refocus and jump back on the plan. Do one thing to get back on track as soon as you can.
- Maintaining your weight during the holidays is OK.
The holidays may not be a great time to see that number on the scale go down. Even if you can maintain your weight through this busy, food-laden season you are doing good. It’s a bonus if you lose.
- Get off the Resolution train.
Don’t be one of the millions of people who wait until January 1st to make resolutions that, for many, are temporary and create that all too familiar feeling of diet failure. Don’t put it off. Instead start today and make a plan for yourself to do even just one small thing per day to improve your health. Take a few minutes in the morning and get your head right to stay on track. Planning ahead for what is to come that day, or even better for the week ahead, will help you to be better prepared and in charge of your choices.
- Stay (Or Get) Active.
Keep moving during the holidays and make it a priority. Don't have time for your regular 45 minutes or an hour, break it up throughout the day. Aren’t really moving much at all? Start moving, even if it’s 10 or 15 minutes a day. Your ultimate goal should be 150-300 minutes per week, but it’s ok to work up to that. Remember, little things like taking the stairs when you can and parking further out at the mall or grocery store help too. If you don't have a regular plan for exercise, don't wait until January to get started. Do something to get your body moving now!
By putting these tips into action you can be in charge of your weight and your health, even through this jam-packed holiday season!