I bet this is on your mind this holiday season. Maybe not the front of your mind, but at least the middle, or for sure the back.
Because, let's be honest, you clicked on this link and started reading this article for that very reason, right?
You wanna know. Everybody does.
What's the secret to not gaining weight during the holidays!?
I can tell you what you think I'm going to say:
- Fill your plate with whole foods (80/20 rule)
- Get some protein with each meal or snack
- Lots of greens, veggies, and fruit
- Moderation... allow yourself treats in small portion sizes
- Hydrate, often thirst can be disguised as hunger
- Prep ahead to make sure you always have access to healthy options
- Move your body in some way that feels satisfying and fulfilling every day
- Get proper rest
This is pretty much the go-to list, right?
But if it were that easy -- to just follow a list -- then why does everyone struggle so much?
We've all heard the statistic that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The reason we still struggle even though we all "know" what to do is because we often treat the question of "how do I not gain weight over the holidays" kind of like jumping out of an airplane and THEN searching for our parachute.
The time to start addressing this is NOT in the midst of the holidays. It's way before that.
The question isn't, "How can I not gain weight THIS holiday season?" But instead it's, "How can I get my body and mindset to a place where, holidays or not, I've got this?"
Where I won't ever be tempted to binge.
Where some bread, mashed potatoes, and pie won't bloat me up for days.
Where I know exactly how to prepare for and support my body so that it can thrive in any circumstance.
Where I don't feel like this is a free for all but rather, like any other day, where I get to eat whatever I choose to eat and always know how to nourish myself properly in a way that never feels depriving.
The holidays are no different than any other day. The problem isn't the excess of treats, the problem is that we set ourselves up for failure when we don't approach how and what we eat as a lifestyle.
We focus too heavily on day-to-day and put pressure on ourselves to measure up to the idea of perfection that we have in our heads.
Perfection is not the answer.
Consistency and a long-term, realistically do-able plan that factors in "real life" IS the solution. Because, you need something that you can stick to, right? That's the goal.
We focus so much on black/white, right/wrong, good/bad, rather than broadening our view and asking ourselves what we truly want.
Really. When was the last time you asked yourself what you REALLY want?
A life of freedom, flexibility, and sustainable health.
A life of restriction, deprivation, and living inside a tiny little box of prescribed meal plan prison forever.
I think we both know the answer.
Take your focus off of what's gonna happen this next month, and decide what you want for the long-term. What does your vision for "winning" look like for you?
You're not supposed to avoid everything that tastes good forever. I for sure don't. I eat sugar AND bread, and I don't feel bad about it at all because it's a small piece of my bigger-picture healthy lifestyle plan.
If your goal is to be healthy and maintain your ideal weight, then give yourself the time, space, and permission to decide what that looks like for you. Learn what kind of plan works best for you long-term.
Figuring this out doesn't happen over night and it certainly doesn't happen by either obsessing over gaining weight during the holidays (like I used to) OR by giving yourself a free pass to go buck wild because "it's the holidaaaaayyyys."
You want to create a better body or life than you have now? Do something different.
Be deliberate with your actions. Take responsibility, get committed and focus on what really matters to you. And if you haven't been able to do that yet on your own, invest in your future. Get a coach or someone that can hold your hand and take you through the steps they know inside and out to get you to where you want to go.
And think about this.
Next year, during the holidays, how cool would it be to have achieved and maintained your dream body goals for some time, not even questioning whether or not you'll be able to "handle" the holidays, because you know... you've got this.
Sheila Viers is a Health and Life Coach.
Get her free guide, 3 Steps To Losing Weight Without Restriction.
Follow Sheila on Instagram at https://instagram.com/sheilaviers.