Holiday Survival Tips

Earlier this week I posted my top 3 tips and some thoughts in my email newsletter:

First, let’s get something straight. Surviving the holidays doesn’t have to mean you avoided weight gain or something else related to your body. It CAN, but you get to chose what “surviving” (or better yet thriving) the holidays means.

For me and most of my clients, it means feeling GOOD, energized, confident and like we got to enjoy holiday moments with family/friends that involved food in a way that felt satisfying and enjoyable.

Food is a part of holidays and celebrations. More often than not, thinking that you need to swear off ALL treats, drinks and sweet potato casseroles this year so that you can hit your too aggressive weight loss goal backfires.

My suggestion? Make clear in your mind (or on paper) what you goals are for the holidays. If you’re on a weight loss journey, consciously decide if you want to switch to maintenance for a few weeks or if you want to continue aiming for weight loss at a conservative rate (1 lb/week). If you’re not on a weight loss journey but like to prioritize your health, set a goal of how you want to feel when the holidays are over.

Whether your goal is weight loss or health for the holidays, here are a few key priorities to make for yourself (that still allow enjoyment of the seasonal festivities):

1. Your sleep and exercise schedule might be the two things you have the most control over. Focus on getting enough good quality sleep (which might mean cutting back a little on alcohol) and scheduling exercise into every day (whether it’s a walk or full strength workout).

2. Focus on adding things into your diet rather than restricting things. Focus on adding the nutrient rich foods to your plate first, then add small portions of any and all other foods/treats that look delicious. Eat the nutrient rich foods first.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. With water 😉 When my clients get out of their routine, water seems to be the first thing to be forgotten. In between coffee, cider, wine or any other beverages remember to drink that h20.

After that email I asked for specific things or situations you wanted a strategy for, so here are responses to those!

What to do with holiday “food pushers”

All you can control in this situation is how you respond. So have some responses pre-prepared and at the ready! Some options are: “Thanks, but I’m going to hold off for now.”, “Thanks, but X actually looks so good to me right now.”, “I’m stuffed at the moment, but maybe in a bit.” There’s also the option to accept whatever they are offering and eat however much or little actually feels good to you.

What to do if you have no control over the menu/groceries

First, remember that a few days or even a week or two isn’t going to “ruin your health” or “ruin your progress”. Remember to think about the big picture. Use portion control and hunger cues to guide you, but try not to demonize less-micronutrient rich food, it still provides macronutrients and you can get back to your preferred diet when you are home.

What to do when family/friends comment on your body or choices

Again, here all you can control is how you respond. Unless you’re comfortable shutting this comment down, my top suggestion is to change the subject or leave the conversation. If this happens repeatedly and the person is not getting the message, it could be good to tell the person how their comments make you feel or that they aren’t helpful to you.

How assess progress over the holidays

First, have a clearly defined goal. If you’ve been on a weight loss journey, assess if you want to continue or choose maintenance for a few weeks. If you aren’y working on any specific weight loss goals, let go of the expectation that you have to stick to a certain routine 100% of the time. You might learn a few new things or it might make you appreciate certain aspects about your routine.

Society often gives us unreasonable expectations for holiday season (kind of like “bouncing back” culture after childbirth), give yourself permission to enjoy all foods, listen to your body and find balance by still fitting in things that you know will make you feel good.

If you’d like to have some coaching support over the holidays, fill out my coaching application!

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