Maintain your weight and minimize your stress this holiday seasonDec 17, 2021
Tis the season to be present, enjoy some good food, and maintain.
Sometimes the most significant sign of progress is actually not seeing the scale change. Maintaining weight during the holidays is not only a sign of progress but a huge sign of mental growth.
It’s a sign that you have learned to be mindful, enjoy food with your family, and no longer feel so restricted with your nutrition that you “have” to eat all the food.
How do you feel about the holidays? What sort of feelings and thoughts come up?
For me (coach Ashlyn), the holidays used to bring up SO many negative thought patterns around food.
I would work out so hard on Christmas morning that I was exhausted the rest of the day. I'd only put little spoonfuls of food on my plate because that was all that I had "tracked" for the day. But then, I would feel like I was missing out, so I would snack here and there the rest of the night. The day after, I would feel horrible but couldn't get myself to stop snacking!
Does any of this sound familiar?
Chances are, you’ve been in a similar situation. Over the years as a coach, I’ve heard all kinds of stories from clients about ways they’ve restricted or guilted themselves during the holiday season.
Here’s the thing, it never ends well.
When you restrict yourself like this, you either end up feeling like you’re missing out, or you beat yourself up because you feel so guilty about enjoying a holiday meal. That’s a lose-lose scenario, and I don’t want this to be a part of your life anymore.
For me, it wasn't until I started to give myself PERMISSION to enjoy the day and eat food that I started to see a shift.
I want to share with you five strategies to help you feel more in control so that you can MAINTAIN over the holidays while still eating the pie!
Five strategies to maintain control
1. Recognize Triggers
Are there foods present that trigger certain feelings or emotions? Maybe it's the people you will be surrounded by.
How can you plan and prepare for these obstacles so that you are ready when they show up?
Maybe you bring a healthy side dish or go into the meal knowing that you ARE going to have a piece of the pie instead of saying you don’t want it and feeling bad for eating one anyways.
By creating a strategy beforehand, you can create if-then scenarios that will allow you to use these environmental and social cues to initiate goal-directed behaviors.
Remember, the goal isn’t always to eat less. Sometimes (like during the holidays), the goal is to be present and enjoy food without guilt.
2. Be Mindful, Not Mindless
Try to slow down when you’re eating and only eat at the table or with a plate.
Don't hang out in the kitchen and just grab handfuls of snacks. Pay attention to how the food feels in your mouth and what is around you.
By eating mindfully, you’ll get so much more enjoyment out of your food because if you’re grazing all day without paying attention to what you’re putting in your mouth, you’ll eventually feel like you overate, but you won’t remember what you ate.
When you slow down, you start to appreciate all of the delicious flavors and textures in your food. You’ll also notice if there’s something that you don’t like as much as you thought you might. You can set that aside and focus on the foods you enjoy the most.
3. Focus on EVERYTHING but the food
I know I just said to pay attention to what you’re eating, but I didn’t mean that you need to spend the whole day thinking about only food. Mindful eating is not the same as obsessing over food.
Of course, we are all there to enjoy some yummy food, but what would it look like for you to spend more energy focusing on the time with family and friends, laughing, and making memories instead of what you are putting on your plate?
Take it all in!
Focus your energy on connecting with your loved ones and getting the most out of this time with them, especially if you don’t see some of these people very often. You can make a turkey dinner any time of the year, but can everyone get together and relax at any time of the year?
4. Be Realistic
Give yourself a reality check. What are you willing to do over the holidays? What are your non-negotiables for holiday dinners? Going in with intentions sets the stage for the entire day. Not to mention it trains your brain!
Decide ahead of time if you want to go into your next holiday dinner with the intention of sticking mostly to turkey and vegetables or if you want to make sure you get a slice of your favorite pie.
There’s no wrong answer because this is your journey, your life, and your body. Do what will make this holiday season most enjoyable for you!
5. Just Move
Whether it's a morning walk in the sun or a quick little workout with friends and family, get in some movement!
It doesn’t need to be an intense workout. Move your body in a way that is enjoyable for you, so you’re doing something more than sitting on your butt all day.
You’ll be more energetic once the endorphins kick in, and there’s zero chance that you’ll feel guilty for not being active.
Bonus points if you can get the family involved!
You don’t have to do this alone
I know that navigating the holidays can be challenging. I’ve been there, remember?
If you’re looking to work with a coach who can help you navigate the holidays in a way that’s minimally stressful and maximizes your enjoyment, apply for coaching with the stellar coaches at KJO Coaching!
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