It started off innocently enough: just a small taste of some leftover Halloween candy. And then a co-worker brought in some cookies and you had a sampling, and then there’s that party next week…You may be asking yourself why even try to stay dedicated to your diet this time of the year?
It seems like every year, from Halloween to Thanksgiving all the way through to New Year’s it’s an eating extravaganza with parties and seemingly endless temptations and reasons to indulge. How can you stay dedicated to your diet through the holidays?
The reality is, with so many temptations, many people don’t even try to stay true to their diet regime during the holidays. Many resign themselves to gaining about 5-10lbs before New Year’s, at which point they will resolve to get back on the bandwagon and get back to good, healthy eating habits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This year can be the year where you start off January at the same weight (or thinner) than you were before Halloween.
This sounds like a catchy slogan for a fridge magnet, but it’s so much more than that. Research has shown there is value in picturing yourself the way you want to be. If you actually visualize yourself thinner, healthier, staying dedicated to your diet, you will be. Picture yourself at your goal weight. Imagine what you will be wearing, how you will feel, how you will act. There are apps online that you can use to help, or you can find a picture of yourself when you were at your goal weight or you can just use your imagination. No matter how you do it, just do it. There is something to be said for self-fulfilling prophecies.
Remember it’s not all or nothing.
How many times have you said to yourself, well, I’ve eaten one donut, I might as well just splurge and eat the rest of the box! Opportunities for these kinds of splurges are substantially more prevalent during the holidays. And the likelihood that you’ll slip a little is pretty high. But that’s ok. A slip up or even several, is not a reason to ditch the diet. A few bad choices won’t undo all the work you’ve done, but giving up will! Just accept your choice without guilt and refocus with the very next meal. There’s no need to wait until the next day or the beginning of the week to restart your diet. Every meal you eat is an opportunity to get your diet back on track.
Keep a tangible incentive.
Buy a really nice dress or pair of pants or jacket in a smaller size than you normally get, something that you really love, but never dared to get. Hang it somewhere prominent. So every time you see it, you’ll be reminded that you have to stay dedicated to your diet if you want to wear it. Or maybe clothes aren’t your thing, then you can entice yourself with a trip or new power tool that you can only use once you’ve made it through the holidays without blowing your diet. Find the thing (or things) that will say “reward” to you and will motivate you to stay true to your diet. Think of it as an investment in your future: you’re investing in a thinner, healthier you.
Spread the word.
Struggling in silence is no fun. Let your friends and family know that you are on a diet and are trying to stay dedicated during the holidays. Understand that you may get a fair amount of resistance, a few “oh it’s the holidays live a little” comments but know that those that truly care about your health and happiness will understand and be supportive. By being honest you won’t have miss out on any of the fun, you are just going to make smart food and drink choices. And hopefully by giving some people a little advance warning you won’t spend the whole time at a party explaining yourself.
Now, during the holidays, it is more important than ever to exercise. Now only will exercise help you maintain your weight but it will also give you more energy and relieve the inevitable stress that surrounds the holidays. If you feel like you just don’t have the time, there are ways to sneak in exercise. You don’t have to set aside your whole day. And just because the weather may not be cooperating with you, with a little preparation you can still exercise outside.
Plan your meals.
Meal planning is more important than ever during the holidays, not only to save your diet but to save your sanity. With so much going on, the last thing you want to do is think about what you're going to make for dinner. Which makes Diet-to-Go the ideal option during the holidays. Because you can choose how many days per week you get the meals and how many meals per day, you can make sure you’re properly fueled to give you the energy to fight off temptations and stay dedicated to your diet.
With a little planning and by employing some strategies you can make this year the year where you start the New Year looking and feeling great!