By Nancy Owais
As the holiday season approaches, we find ourselves busy with celebrations, family gatherings, and an endless array of food and drinks. However, for those dedicated to their weight loss goals, this time of year can be challenging. The combination of holiday feasts, sweet treats, and reduced physical activity can easily deter your progress. However, with thoughtful planning and the right mindset, it's possible to stay on track with your weight loss goals without feeling deprived.
How can you stay on track during this holiday season?
1. Start by setting realistic goals. Before heading into holiday festivities, it's important to set clear and realistic weight loss goals. Knowing what you aim to achieve provides a sense of motivation. Be specific about your goals, whether it's maintaining your current weight or losing weight. Realistic goals serve as a guide, helping you make mindful decisions throughout the holiday season.
2. Have a plan ready. Navigating the holiday season successfully begins with a well-structured plan. Develop a schedule that includes your meals, workout routines, and holiday gatherings. By time blocking these activities, you'll maintain organization and ensure that you can balance all the fun of the holidays with self-care. A well-thought-out plan is your key to a successful season.
3. Practice mindful eating. Holiday foods are known for their richness in taste and abundance of variety. To make the most of this holiday season while staying on track with your weight loss, practice mindful eating. Enjoy each bite, chew slowly, and pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Start by filling your plate with half the food you would normally indulge in, wait 15 minutes when you’re done, and go for seconds if you’re still hungry.
4. Make healthier decisions. When possible, go for healthier alternatives in your holiday recipes. If you're responsible for making the meals, incorporate more nutrient dense ingredients and cooking methods, such as baking or roasting, which will be lower in calories and fat than frying. Swap out high calorie ingredients with healthier alternatives. This season is all about vegetables and it’s the perfect time to add more to your meals this year.
5. Work on portion control. Portion control is your best friend when managing your calorie intake during the holidays. Use smaller plates and utensils, which can make your servings appear larger. Start with half of what you would normally, and resist the temptation to go back for seconds until you've waited at least 15 minutes and are truly still hungry.
6. Stay hydrated. Hydration can help control your appetite and prevent overeating. Make it a habit to carry water with you and aim to drink at least 64 ounces each day. Sometimes, our bodies confuse thirst as hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking or overeating. If you plan on drinking this holiday season, try drinking a glass of water after your drink to keep you satisfied, hydrated, and feeling great in the morning.
7. Don’t skip out on exercise.Maintaining your exercise routine during the holiday season is crucial for staying on track with your weight loss goals. Schedule your workouts in advance and stick to them, even if it means opting for shorter sessions. Physical activity not only helps you burn off those extra calories but also supports your mental well-being. Try working out with friends or family to make it more fun and keep you accountable.
8. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that not everyday is going to be perfect and things may not go exactly as you planned. If you indulge more than intended, it’s ok! You will start over the next day and make better choices. Occasional setbacks are normal and shouldn't deter your progress. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, focus on your goals and continue making healthier choices.
The holiday season makes it more difficult to stay on track with your weight loss goals, but it is a hurdle that once you overcome will feel so much better and give you the motivation to continue into the new year. Staying on track with your weight loss goals requires dedication and mindfulness, but it's achievable with the right mindset and strategies. By setting realistic goals, planning thoughtfully, practicing mindful eating, and making healthier choices, you can enjoy the holiday season while continuing your weight loss journey. The holidays and weight loss are all balance, not deprivation. This year, you will successfully navigate the holiday season, setting a positive tone for a healthier, happier you going into the new year and many years after.