Every year, the holidays hit us and the pounds creep on. We go nuts on Thanksgiving which rolls into the stresses of traveling, planning, and shopping for Christmas, and the yummy treats are just everywhere! We wear big sweaters and layers, and before you know it, we’re all panicking and making resolutions to “fix” the damage we’ve done with the New Year. Sound familiar? I hate it.
I’ve been the one to do this almost every winter. Each year, I think I’ll do better than the last, but the sugar demons usually win. I want to chat a little about the things we can do this time of year to win those little battles, but I also want to encourage you that you aren’t alone in the feelings you may be having!
First of all, I’m not discussing weight in the sense that I think WEIGHT actually matters much. I’m of the mind that weight is just a number, and you cannot judge someone by a weight (within a range for the most part). What I AM talking about is excess body fat. Excess body fat is actually dangerous and quite hazardous to your health, especially around the midsection where it’s so easy to pack it on. Extra belly fat is linked to a lot of diseases, and my ultimate goal is sharing how to reach your best overall health– not weight. I’m not aesthetically driven here.
So what can you do this season to not need a total 180 come January 1st? Well, there’s no secret that’s for sure! The things I’m going to recommend are relatively common sense, but I’m recommending them only from personal experience. I’ve been the girl who absolutely could not control herself around any delicious food, from mac and cheese to cookies. I used to feel so weak and guilty. So first, I recommend practicing saying NO. We live in a society of excess that preaches moderation. So how do you reconcile those two things? You have to be able to say “no” sometimes. If you’ll go crazy on a platter of cookies once you open the flood gates, then simply don’t start. Sometimes we make this tougher than it actually is, and I think you’d be amazed at how empowered you can feel when abstaining from something you don’t need. Just remind yourself that you are in complete control of the movement of your body. Wanting something is not a reason to put it into your body, especially if you know it’s providing no benefit! Give yourself a little tough love in this area, and watch the amazing snowball effect it can have on your confidence. The last thing you want from a Christmas party is the feeling that you were completely out of control.
Next, pass on any and all sweet drinks! I can’t say this enough, but there are absolutely zero benefits to drinking something sweet. I promise, I GET IT. I’m not a robot who is immune to the effects of sugar! I can down at least a quart of egg nog this time of year, but I don’t. The insulin spike that comes from drinking something like that IMMEDIATELY tells your body to store fat, so it’s no wonder we pack it on once pumpkin spice latte season is upon us.
Get outside every chance you get! I realize it’s been a pretty mild holiday season as far as temperatures most places, but this time of year does tend to drive us indoors. Every little bit of fresh air and natural light can do wonders for your mood and appetite, leaving you less likely to stuff your face from boredom or stress.
Offer to bring a dish if you aren’t sure there will be any healthy options and load yours with filling, healthy fats and proteins! I love to go nuts on deviled eggs, guacamole, cheese platters, etc.
Steer clear of the mindless snacking things that might be around that it’s easy to lose track of, like Chex mix, candy bowls, chips, or crackers. You’d be amazed how much of that stuff you can put back once you get to chatting with people!
Keep a glass of water or La’Croix in your hand so you have something to satisfy that hand to mouth habit. When you see other people snacking or smell food yourself, that urge can be lessened a lot just by putting something to your mouth! I definitely suggest something unsweetened that you enjoy. I’m a sucker for unsweet tea– the south disowns me for that one!
The holidays are not about food, they’re about warm feelings and people and nostalgia, so focus on all the good in your life. If you’re having a tough holiday season, food is never a good coping mechanism, so reach out for help if you need it. At the end of the day, yes, November and December bring delicious foods and treats, but you don’t have to end another year feeling shame and pressure to lose the holiday pounds. It’s a roller coaster I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and I believe we can all take the control back. Happy holidays, y’all, and do what makes you happy AND healthy!