With Halloween and Thanksgiving just behind us and a couple of major holidays ahead, this is the time of year when something else may be creeping into your life - extra weight! You can thank Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas celebrations for holiday weight gain which commonly begins in late October and can continue through the first of the year.
But rather than succumb to the typical seasonal weight gain traps, we want to help you set a different path this fall and winter. Here are some tips to guide you:
1. Safety proof your home. When the holiday is over, you need to clean out your house so those sweet treats either disappear completely or are kept out of sight. If come Thanksgiving, you're someone who still has Halloween candy in and around your home, it will be awfully hard to stay on your healthy weight loss track. Develop a smart plan that allows you to still enjoy the holiday and a moderate portion of some favorite treats without leaving too many temptations in your path. Some people buy just enough candy for trick-or-treaters (to diminish leftovers) and they pick candies they don't particularly like. Others buy small wrapped pieces of dark chocolate that can be frozen and enjoyed later on. Some folks end holiday celebrations by making care packages for their guests so they're not left with all of the higher calorie treats. So go ahead and distribute all those calories instead of leaving them to tempt you!
2. Practice self regulation. Self-regulation is the secret to staying in control and limiting the weight gain creep. Self-regulation involves two things: daily self-weighing and an action plan to follow if the scale shows a 3- to 5-pound weight gain. Examples of an action plan may include measuring or weighing foods for a few days or to use some meal replacement products like nutrition bars or frozen meals for a few meals per day 3 or 4 times per week. You should also limit eating out or drinking alcohol so you can better control your calorie intake. Daily self-weighing will keep you in control and a 3-5 pound weight gain will be your signal to get serious and re-focus.
3. Identify core behaviors. Holiday times can be quite stressful. Your typical day to day eating and exercise routine often get disrupted by out-of-town guests at home or by you traveling to see family members or having time off from work. Rather than setting a strict goal to keep up with your "perfect" program, instead, pick 2 or 3 "core" behaviors that you will commit to doing, rain, shine, snow or sleet. Some good examples: Eat breakfast each day, carry a water bottle with you, eat a piece of fruit each day or to record your daily food intake on a pad of paper tossed into your purse. Core behaviors will remind you that you are still on your healthy lifestyle weight management path and you are still in control of your behaviors. You also know that once "life" calms down, you will have more time and energy to get back on your full program.
4. Seek accountability. Accountability can help you too. Throughout the holiday season, commit to being in a accountability relationship with someone you trust and can speak honestly into your life. Whatever your struggles this holiday season, whether it's being tempted by all that Halloween candy or being in an exercise slump, you don't have to do it alone. Reach out and get the help you need so you can stay in control.
What separates the people who lose weight and can maintain their weight loss versus the people who just throw in the towel and regain the weight they worked so hard to lose is being able to practice these four tips.