Ahh, the holidays! The wonderful time of year full of food, family…and more food! Oh, and did I mention food?
I used to stress about gaining weight during the holidays, which meant I didn’t really enjoy anything I ate. I worried about how it all would affect that number on the scale. And let me tell you…that’s a drag!!
Finally I figured out how self-destructive my thoughts and actions were. I made a concentrated effort to switch my mindset, appreciate the blessing of togetherness and abundance, and enjoy the holiday season.
The surprising result? I maintain my weight through the holidays, even while indulging in decadent treats.
Read on for the simple mantras I follow to avoid holiday weight gain…and most importantly, enjoy this time of year!
6 Positive Mind/Body Mantras to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
If you’re going to splurge, then truly allow yourself to enjoy it. What is the point of indulging if you’re just guilting yourself the entire time? It kind of defeats the purpose!
One special meal, or one “cheat” day isn’t going to make or break your entire year, so stop worrying so much about it. Banish those self-defeating thoughts that tell you things like: well I’ve already blown it today, so what’s one more day?
Eat your dinner, LOVE it, and move on!
Remember, there IS more for another day
One of the biggest traps about a “splurge” meal is thinking that you have to eat as much as possible in one sitting. I’ve totally been there…I better stuff my face while I can because tomorrow it’s back on the diet!
The problem is that you eat so much that you feel so heavy and bloated that it’s hard to enjoy the rest of the holiday!
What I started doing instead is treating a holiday meal like any other meal. I serve myself normal portions and remind myself that I can always have a second bite of something if I really love it. Interestingly, I’m usually satisfied enough after my first plate that I don’t want seconds after all.
Tell those calories to take a walk!
Let’s be real, you’re probably not going to make it to the gym on Thanksgiving Day. (Well, I probably won’t anyways!) But that doesn’t mean all is lost! A nice long walk before or after “the big meal” will fire up your metabolism and start your body burning those holiday calories.
Even better news: studies show that walking not only increases your metabolism while you’re doing it, but also your resting metabolic rate (if you walk regularly). If you make the effort to walk several (or every) days a week, your body will already be working on those holiday calories even before you eat!
The best part about walking is that you can do it just about anywhere, even while traveling. When we visit relatives during the holidays, we take a family walk through my Granny’s neighborhood almost every day. Those West Virginia hills are an awesome workout and a great way to spend time together.
I’m obsessed with my TomTom Touch Fitness Tracker and making sure I get my 10,000 steps a day. This is an awesome holiday (or anytime) gift idea for yourself or a loved one!
Watch out for those “sneaky” calories
We all know know that those decadent holiday desserts are packed with calories. However, we don’t always think about the calories we drink. A single 8 ounce glass of that Christmas classic eggnog can pack as many as 400 calories!
A glass of red wine is a smarter choice, at 100-150 calories per serving. However, alcohol consumption can trick your brain into thinking it’s hungry (more on that here), so be aware that your cravings may increase if you’re drinking. Always drink in moderation, and drink a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage. And please, please, always chose a designated driver!
Stay off the scale
Before you say I’m cheating, hear me out! Many of our favorite holiday indulgences are laden with sodium, which makes your body retain water. This can cause your weight to fluctuate. If you step on the scale the day after a big holiday meal, you probably won’t be getting a true reading. What you will get is a number that is discouraging. So don’t do it!
For me, the most helpful thing I did was to stop making a big deal about holiday meals. Honestly, one meal, no matter how large, isn’t going to have a huge impact on your overall weight over time.
You might feel bloated for a day or two after a holiday dinner. You might gain a couple pounds (but if you don’t weigh yourself that day you won’t know!) However, if you go back to your normal habits right away, your body will recover quickly.
Stressing out only gets in the way of your holiday fun and too much stress can actually lead to weigh gain. So stop stressing!
Enjoy the holidays, have those once-a-year treats, and the get back on the grind!