What is it about the holidays that makes us want to throw up our hands and bury our faces in ever cake, pie, casserole, and adult beverage we see?
Okay, show of hands – have you ever tossed your weight loss goals to the wind while uttering the excuse, “But it’s Christmas!”?
Unfortunately, we’ve accepted the myth that losing weight and enjoying special or “bad” foods are mutually exclusive – it’s one or the other, but never both.
- One bite of sweet potato pie and all these months of hard work have been ruined.
- One drink and you might as well cancel your gym membership.
It’s a dangerous tightrope we walk, never allowing ourselves to enjoy the things we love in the pursuit of a goal. It’s not realistic. It’s not sustainable.
And it doesn’t just apply to the holidays! Weddings, vacations, parties, special events, and social activities offer goodies that are quite tempting…they can derail us and leave us feeling guilty, sad, or even depressed.
And that little snowball of guilt can cause an avalanche of self-judgment, hopelessness, or even continued indulgence that can lead us far from the path to our weight loss goals.
It’s time we free ourselves from this myth that you can either lose weight OR enjoy yourself!
Because here’s the thing – you CAN enjoy your favorite holiday foods without guilt…with a little planning! Here are five tips to get you started.
Give Yourself Permission
If you’ve ever snuck a candy bar in a closet so your kids wouldn’t see, or taken the last doughnut from the box in the break room while nobody was looking, you know the feeling of guilt that follows. And that’s the problem – we’ve equated indulgence with bad decisions, so when it happens, we berate ourselves for doing something “bad.”
But this is key – self-permission does not happen in the moment when you’re suddenly face-to-face with that beautiful coconut cake. Self-permission needs to be premeditated. If you know you’re going to a party, decide ahead of time that you’re going to allow yourself to have a glass of wine. If your sister is bringing your favorite squash casserole to Thanksgiving dinner, give yourself permission to enjoy a reasonable helping. But this doesn’t mean you give yourself permission to eat the whole cake or drink a whole bottle of wine yourself. Don’t go overboard. Giving yourself permission to indulge will help you psychologically preempt the guilt – and will allow you to look forward to the treat instead of beating yourself up over it.
Make a Plan
If you know you’re going to a wedding and will want to drink a glass of wine, that’s great. But maybe don’t drink every night the week leading up to the wedding. Not only will that make for some pretty rough mornings, but it will also decrease your enjoyment of the wine at the wedding. Make it something you look forward to – something special. If you decide you want to enjoy a slice of wedding cake, consider passing on that glass of wine. If you decide ahead of time, when the temptation isn’t staring you in the face, it’s a lot easier.
Eat Healthy Before Indulging
Staying conscious of your eating and drinking habits leading up to your special event will also help curb those feelings of guilt. In the week before the wedding, focus on drinking more water instead of soda or juice. Ask for brown rice instead of white rice in your Chiptole bowl. As small as they are, these changes will help you exert a sense of control over your environment and, as I mentioned above, will make the wedding cake that much sweeter when the big day finally arrives.
While being mindful is something we need to do more of every day, pay particular attention to your surroundings and focus on your chosen indulgences. The big buffet at the wedding calling your name? Maybe sit farther away so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds (or thirds…or fourths). Know that the wine will be flowing? Keep a glass of seltzer water in your hand so you aren’t tempted to hold out your wine glass every time the server comes by. Then, when cake time comes, you can enjoy every morsel of that creamy frosting and spongy cake – without being over-full or over-lubricated.
Get Back On Track Quickly
This may be the most important tip in this blog article – don’t let one indulgence turn into weeks or months of poor eating and loads of guilt. It’s so easy to say, “Well, I had that piece of cake yesterday, so an extra helping of french fries today won’t hurt. I’ll get back on the plan tomorrow.” But tomorrow turns into next year, and your “treat” day turned into your default mode.
So as the holiday season approaches, allow yourself to indulge! Have one of your mom’s mouth-watering yeast rolls! Have a beer with your uncle! But be mindful in this enjoyment, acknowledge that it’s a treat, and turn your attention back to your weight loss efforts and healthy eating plan. Because gaining weight during the holidays doesn’t have to be a given.
you’re welcome 🙂
Thanks Jane for this wonderful reminder
you’re welcome 🙂
Very great tips! I have been anxious about Christmas coming up as I have struggled to maintain my weight this year. I am still 5 kilos away from my goal and want desperately to achieve it before the end of the year but think that Christmas coming up might hamper my best well-thought plans! Thank you for this!
Give yourself a small break over the holidays but be mindful of your goal as well 🙂
I wish i can only stop being lazy,and fear of feeling dizziness ,due to low haemoglobin which go to less than 10,this makes me feel as if am going to faint or die,so i eat any portion as long i wont feel dizziness,but one thing am gland about i was able to do away most sugar,and wheat,exercise am not good either but i try,sometimes i feel my stomach is full even when i have not taken anything,am happy on scale ,last my BMI was scaled am supposed to be 64 kg and am 76 kg,i was told my weight is still over weight,this scares me,i have to do something abt it.
For the last 3months I have been eating clean, watching what I eat taking lot of water but still no change am still 70kgs my target have always been 65kgs
Progress is NOT only measured by kilos, check your measurements. You might have a body type where the kilos dont decrease but the inches do…that is the MOST important fast.
Wow! I love you Mukami, your articles are really really great
I have been on a set back since I fractured my foot, no exercise, not enough movement and that guilty of just eating and not doing anything is killing me.
I will follow the advise in this article s as I am sure things will not be the same on the ground ?
you’re most welcome Judy and quick recovery to you 🙂
Thanks for the information.
I look forward to putting it into practice
you’re welcome 🙂
I really observe what I put in my body. My fat goes but my weight remains constant. However, I am determined to stay healthy. Thank you Jane
The scale remaining the same but inches melting off simply means you retain a lot of water…im happy to hear that you dont let the scale discourage you 🙂
Great insights @Jane Mukami I’ve also suffered from feeling that losing weight and indulgence are not related ?? The tip for being mindful touched me the most & is priceless thank you
great – mindfulness to me is the most important one too:)
Thanks for the timely article, i was wondering on how to go about the festive season without breaking my mojo.
Now you know how to maneuver Nettie 🙂
Thanks for this great piece of advice it will come very much in handy especially where for us Christmas equals to a lot of wheat food stuff.
awesome Reginah, I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂
Thanks for the useful tips as always. Now I can do better and be better instead of indulging and feeling bitter later. Regret is one of those hard beds that no one wants to sleep on after having a festive month.
Blessings to you always.
Thank you for giving us permission to give ourselves permission.
Having a plan and being mindful is a really good idea. I was so scared of the holidays
this year because I have done really well health and weight wise and don’t want to fall of the wagon. At the same time, I want to be with family and friends and enjoy the season. All the best with the holidays everyone, and blessings!
you’re already on the right track for thinking about not doing too much damage – your actions will follow your thoughts 🙂
I am inspired and encouraged. I don’t have much of weight but learning each day to be fit and healthy…..
Nice encouragement Jane you always inspire me. God bless you
Asante Sana Liz bless you too 🙂
learning is always a good thing 🙂
Jane you are a God sent to me, surely you really encourage me and I have learned more from you. I can confidently confirm that loosing weight and stay fit is possible.
God bless, am waiting to do the 9th Dec Detox and I know I will be good to go over Christmas holiday.
You’ve taught me how to stay discipline and forecast.
So good to hear Damaris and good luck on the detox 🙂
Great. Useful tips. Thank you Jane!
you’re welcome Faith 🙂
This is quite helpful and insightful. I plan on borrowing this tips going forward.
Thank you Suzanne glad the blog was hopeful 🙂
You are so kind I am so grateful your advise is eye opening you have inspired me in many ways my appreciation
? you millions
you’re most welcome 🙂
Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is really frustrating. A good site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can’t find it.