Hazards Ahead: How To Prepare For The Holidays

Holidays are never easy for the dieter. In fact, the holidays can feel like a hazard zone. Diane shares the importance of mental and concrete preparation to navigate the holidays without gaining weight.

September 18, 2015
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The weather is turning colder, and whether you celebrate fall or dread it because winter is soon to follow, the holiday season is fast approaching. From a dieting perspective, there is no harder time.

It’s difficult enough to stick to your diet during the regular months, but almost impossible during the holiday months. Don’t despair. I have several ways you can prepare yourself for the holiday dieting hazards ahead.

Holiday preparation takes two different directions when it comes to sticking to your diet and losing weight.

The first is mental. The second is taking concrete action.

The Mental Preparation

Having a recipe for mental preparation before the holiday season begins is critical in ensuring you get through the holidays successfully. Now is not the time to let your guard down. I recommend thinking about emotions, expectations, and food traditions before the holiday season begins to prepare you to navigate the complexities of the holidays without gaining weight.

Emotions

Speaking from personal experience, the holidays aren’t always completely full of gladness and joy. For many people, events from the past bring up unpleasant emotions. For example, if a family member has recently passed away, you will miss that person during the holidays.

Strong emotions often trigger a desire to overeat.

I find it best to acknowledge the emotions that the holiday brings and talk with family about how I’m feeling. It’s okay to have sad times during the holiday season. Be ready for those times and avoid turning to food for comfort.

Expectations And Traditions

Do you expect to have all your favorite foods at the next holiday? Probably. Are you going to sample all of them? Hopefully not if you are serious about losing weight.

For many people, eating the same foods every year during the holidays is part of tradition. You must mentally decide what foods you will include and exclude from your holiday diet before the holiday season begins. That way you won’t be standing in front of a dessert table laden with your favorites trying to say “no” to all of them.

Concrete Preparation

Concrete preparation for the holidays involves finding ways to incorporate healthier options into traditional celebrations and taking steps ahead of time to make sure you are able to stick to your diet without feeling too deprived or upsetting family members unnecessarily.

Talk With Family And Friends

Sit down with family and close friends and have an honest discussion about your goals. I told my husband I would not be baking as much as I usually did during the holidays because I didn’t want to be tempted. He was sad but understood.

Tell your family and friends how you will handle holiday food, baking, and social events. Ask for their support, especially if you have family members who normally pressure you to eat “just a little more.”

Research And Try Healthier Recipe Options

There are thousands of healthy recipe options available with the click of your computer mouse. Try a few before the holidays begin so you know what you like. I made a lower calorie stuffing, healthier pumpkin bread, and added new salad dishes to our holiday meals. Everyone liked them, and I created new family traditions that continue to this day.

Join A Fitness Group Now

If you are not already part of a fitness group, find one now. Sign up for a short-term gym membership, find a fitness boot camp in your area, or get a group of friends together three times a week and go for a brisk walk.

Exercise not only burns calories, but is also good for you mentally.

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