When you tell yourself that the holiday season will be difficult to keep on track with all the available food and drink, chances are it's going to be. Your self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect to give in to the temptation of all those homemade baked goods, you will and your weight loss goals are sure to suffer. If you're sure it's not an option to turn down your mother's offer of seconds, it won't be.
But if you want to start the New Year without feeling like you're starting over, you can. The first thing you need is a positive attitude, says Dianne Siegelbaum, a New York-based WW Coach. "You can if you think you can," she says.
The second thing you need? A plan. People who stay within sight of their weight-loss goals — in one way or another — are the people who eventually attain their goals. Figuring out what's different and more difficult about losing weight during the holidays helps you strategize how to work through it.
It can be done, and we'll help you do it. Keep reading to develop your plan for getting through the season.
6 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
1. Put things into perspective.
Take out a calendar and circle the days you think might present extraordinary challenges, and you'll see that there are a lot more opportunities to be on track than there are obstacles. With that in mind, it will feel more reasonable to expect success.
2. Identify your expectations.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve. Would you like to continue to lose weight? Would you be happy to maintain? Or were you expecting to sit on the sidelines and start things up again in January? If you know what you're aiming for, you'll be better able to set a clear path.
3. Say goodbye to guilt.
If you're ready to maintain, or even prepared that you may gain a little, don't feel guilty. Instead, take control. "There is nothing wrong with taking a break," says Siegelbaum, "but decide how long you want the break to be." If you outline your limits, you won't feel like you're starting over in January.
4. Find ways to make it work.
There are lots of options for overcoming obstacles while staying on plan, and you practice them all year long. So why not use them during the holidays? Most everyone eats a not-so-great item at some point, but as long as you have other healthy behaviors like regular physical activity in place to counterbalance it, you should be fine in the long run.
5. Don't avoid the scale.
Stay aware of your stats, and you'll be able to make adjustments so you meet your goals.
6. Ask for help.
You're not the only one heading toward the holidays with weight loss in mind. Look for people with similar goals and ask them about their strategies.