Even the strongest of people crumble when faced with all the decadent treats and eats the holidays offer. We set our goal to lose the weight and begin. Then an hour later our co-worker graciously offers us a homemade cookie their child made. We stand there, cookie in hand, and sink our teeth into that mound of sugar deliciousness, while we lie to ourselves that it would be rude to decline— after all, it’s the holidays. You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it. It’s hard to stay motivated during the festivities of the holidays, but as a Master Nutritionist, who personally lost over 130+ pounds (and kept it off for over 10 years), I’m going to share a few tips to help you overcome the holiday binge season!
You can do this… Let’s begin!
Nothing is effective at keeping you on track for healthy weight loss unless you know what you want to achieve. You cannot just wish or hope for weight loss, you must plan and work for it! The first thing to do before starting any weight loss plan is to state your exact goals. Don’t be vague. As a Master Nutritionist, I ask my clients to explain exactly what they want to achieve. If they give me a shallow answer like, “Be healthy.”, I ask them to expand on what that means to them.
This should be fun and also quite invigorating for you. Take your time and make a real objective list of exactly what you hope to achieve, do or become.
To make this a little easier on you try answering these questions:
When you set your personal vision for your weight loss, it becomes real to you. You just invested time and energy into creating this list and it is crucial to make this list as attainable and realistic as possible! If you promise yourself to lose 100 pounds by Valentine’s Day, you might be sadly dishonest with yourself without even knowing it. This process of listing what you expect is to help you learn to be accountable to yourself and also realistic in creating achievable goals. Victory over little, attainable goals will help to keep yourself motivated through every season, holiday party or stressful day.
Once you’ve gotten a clear vision of your goals, take your time to create a realistic action plan. This is where a Nutritionist comes in quite handy! As a Master Nutritionist this what I do every single day for people. Be sure to take into account what worked for someone else may not work for you. If your co-worker lost 20 pounds by eating cabbage soup and broccoli shakes, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work for you— especially if you hate cabbage and broccoli!
Another item to take into account is the timeline you want to reach your goals. You didn’t gain the extra weight in a week and you sure are NOT going to shed it all in a week either! Your weight loss program should not be perceived as something unattainable or quick fix.
NUTRITIONIST TIP: If you want to lose weight safely, do not starve yourself. It will only cause your body to store fat at a rapid rate once your food intake balances out.
If you want healthy and lasting weight loss results it takes patience to get there. Sometimes this “long-game” process can be disheartening for some if results don’t show up immediately, but there is no need to panic my friend!
As a Master Nutritionist, I encourage you to focus on the NONE SCALE VICTORIES. Many notice more energy, better digestion, smoother skin, increased mood, better endurance and improved sleep within days of starting. Stick to your healthy lifestyle, you will enjoy its full benefits, plus the bonus of weight loss. Just wait and see!
Make a daily list of your food. This will allow you to see your evolution of how far you’ve come. Sure you have yet to lose the full 40 pounds yet, but you’re eating cucumbers in place of a bag of chips at lunch now. That’s a big deal! There are other important things you may want to include besides meals and foods. For example, your daily physical activity, sleep or even stress levels. For a weight loss plan to become fully effective, you need to start moving and using your body, sleep a minimum of the recommended 7+ hours per night, and try to relax when stress hits. Besides weight loss benefits, regular workouts will help you relieve stress and strengthen your body. Healthy sleep patterns will help lower stress as well and improve control over cravings. This list becomes your own personal “Health Journey” on paper!
There is a huge difference between true physical hunger and full on mental cravings. There is no way to confuse the two. Hunger is accompanied by that grumbling empty stomach feeling, and often fatigue, mental grogginess, and even dizziness when you wait too long between meals. Cravings are the mental desire for particular foods, usually the once we find more tempting— like carbs, sugars, and salts. Can you say French fries and milkshakes?! Learn to make a clear distinction between hunger and cravings. These two sensations are often confused— but deciding to say no to cravings will lead to weight loss as well as mental freedom from controlling emotional cravings.
Let’s be honest, following a strict healthy lifestyle is hard! Chill out and give yourself some slack if you’ve become the “Food Sheriff” in your life. It’s hard to commit to living the next 50 years of your life never enjoying a slice of cake or a slice of pizza! Allowing yourself an occasional treat once in a while will keep you on the right track and help you boost your mood.
Remember this is occasional, and lets you have a life! Enjoy a treat on your birthday, an important holiday or a special girls night out or date night. By the way, I did say YOUR birthday, not every family member, friend, coworker or neighbor birthday. Whatever you choose, make sure you’ll be getting it only after you have reached your weekly or monthly goal of eating healthy, exercising and balanced rest. After the single treat, you’re right back on track and eating healthy again.
WARNING! Many who have opted to enjoy an occasional treat report feeling ill or bloated afterward. This is because your body is not used to the massive sugar spike or digestive processes of indulging in such rich foods or beverages — including alcohol. Do you need to ask yourself before you indulge in this treat is really worth it? I recall one specific anniversary where my husband and I shared a decadent dessert at a beautiful, upscale restaurant on the beach — my stomach was so upset that the rest of our evening was ruined. Nothing kills the mood like bloating, flatulence and vomiting! Yuck! For me, treating is absolutely apart of living a balanced lifestyle, however, it is something that I have to weigh the repercussions with the immediate satisfaction of the treat. Most of the time it’s NOT worth it— at least for me!
Like any other long-term commitment, such as a great friendship or marriage, living healthy requires time, attention and above all— COMMITMENT! You can’t be one foot in, and one foot out, while digging into a big bowl of macaroni and cheese! It takes a tenacious drive and nerves of steel to pass on the bread basket or chips and salsa. Trust me, I know! It requires a calm perseverance and self-awareness to keep yourself in check when the waiter offers you the dessert menu and your friend says they’re treating you. Been there! It takes a vision of your imminent future to stick with your order of grilled chicken breaker and garden salad when the rest of your crew ordered the cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate milkshake. It’s going to take everything you have to sip your iced lemon water while your crew is sipping champagne or other spirited concoction of their liking…
Will it be easy? NO! Will it be worth it? Absolutely! You can do this! Keep your goals in mind every time you want to give up. Try to see yourself achieving every health goal you’ve set in your mind. This one activity will be your daily fuel to keep the motivation to keep going!
Never give up!