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Another year, another holiday season. Could any time of the year be more challenging than the holidays. We enter the season with great expectations, but also with a sense of dread. How will I handle it all? Once again we face the sinking feeling that life will overwhelm our best efforts.
We go out every day, without even a thought or a plan. Yet we face an industry that spends the whole year crafting foods to tempt us and wear us down. No wonder the average person gains 5-8 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.
I’m here to say it doesn’t have to to be this way.
It’s pretty common for people to look at the season and assume that they will gain weight. And with all your friends agreeing, it seems inevitable. I’m here to say it doesn’t have to to be this way.
No resignation, no excuses. Here’s to a season that will not just be good, but wonderful. If you’re ready to push your boundaries, to really do what it takes to succeed, than read on.
I’m starting you off with principles that really work. Not the typical how to’s, but a shift in perspective that will leave you ready and able to enjoy the holidays and take excellent care of yourself, too.
Ask the right question
Believing you have to give up everything you love in order to be healthy is a strategy that is unlikely to be successful. Remembering that you can be Happy AND Healthy will bring you a different kind of creativity. You’ll find new ways to enjoy your meals and the things you love, without compromising your health or undoing all your hard work.
Your new holiday mantra – I can be Happy AND Healthy. How I can make this work?
Start every day with a plan
You’ve heard the expression, the one with the plan wins. The food companies have a plan, so do the restaurants, malls and stores. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that you should plan for your own best interests instead of theirs?
For example, I keep high protein snacks and cut up veggies ready and with me. I anticipate meals out by choosing a restaurant that serves me healthy choices and I plan my meal in advance. There are so many informative articles brimming with “how to’s”. Find one that you like and practice as many of the ideas as you can. It will make a huge difference in how you feel come year’s end. Think:
- Where will I be today?
- What will I be doing?
- What can I bring, do, or plan that will increase my odds of success?
Tools not rules
Going on a “diet” implies following a strict set of rules and doing the same thing every day forever. Instead, you will manage your weight. This means that you’ll have tools, strategies and skills, which you will apply, depending on your situation.
I know I talk a lot about getting enough protein. This strategy really does help most people stay in balance and ahead of their hunger. As you move through the holiday season and beyond, it’s good to have easy and available options for staying full and satisfied.
For many, protein shakes fill the bill. Having a protein shake (soup, juice, hot chocolate, cereal, etc) works great for a quick snack, a fast breakfast, or before a party. Get into a healthy routine and be prepared for all the inevitable challenges of the season. Have protein and healthy snacks handy.
Care for yourself as well as you care for others
One of the biggest mistakes I hear people make is when they say is “I have to make myself the priority!” In fact it’s likely that there are some pretty important commitments you have needing your attention.
What I’m suggesting instead, is that you remember that you are one of your priorities. Where is the first place you need to to go to when overwhelmed or stressed? All of your new habits. Be your own Mama bear, tender and welcoming or ferocious when protection is needed. Make sure to include some personal time, and get comfortable with a sincere “No” or “No thank you” as needed.