With the holidays coming, many people will be struggling to keep on their diets.
And it’s not just the delicious food, it’s also because of what happens in the holidays with our families. The holidays can be stressful. Some of us will be stressed because we are visiting family, others will be stressed because we don’t have family. Whatever the reason for the stress, many of us will respond by overeating.
So how do you stay motivated when all this delicious food stares you in the face, the crispy skin of the turkey, the sweet marshmallow brown sugar coating on the sweet potatoes. Especially when we have to deal with fussy kids, and the pompous brother, and the complaining mother who never appreciates all the effort you put into the meal.
It’s not going to be easy, keeping our eating under control, but it is very important. To help you with your battle, here are 7 hints to keep you on your diet during the holidays.
1. Remember the why. At some point you made a decision to diet; you decided that you needed to lose some excess weight. The reasoning that went into that decision still holds true. So remember what motivated you to make that decision. Remind yourself of the positives of losing, and the negatives of not losing it. Write them down on a 3×5 card, and carry it with you so you can refresh your memory when ever you are feeling weak.
2. Don’t do it alone. We are much more powerful when we have like minded people encouraging us and cheering us on. Take a minute now to think of who those people are in your life. You can use these people, your social environment, to keep you motivated. In addition to a family member, do you know of someone in your Weight Watchers group who you can call to help get you through the holidays?
3. Structure your physical environment to enhance your motivation. Have healthy food available. It probably won’t tempt you as much as the “bad” food will, but it will help you control the mouth hunger. Remember the mantra, “It’s better to replace than to eliminate.” If you’re the cook, you control the kitchen, which is a powerful place. But even if you aren’t the cook, you can bring healthy treats for yourself. Think twice about counting on someone else to do it for you.
4. Look for opportunities to leverage your motivation. Leveraging our motivation means finding some simple way to exercise control, which simple way results in a greater control over ourself and our motivation. (In my next blog I will explain this concept in greater detail.)
5. Keep a good attitude about the holidays. Stress is in your head; it’s your response to the situation. Try to remember when holidays were fun, when your pompous brother was just a funny little kid, and all you did on the holidays was have fun.
6. Don’t give up the war just because you lose a battle. Don’t think that eating one cookie or one piece of pie means you are a total failure and you might as well face the fact you will never lose the weight, so you might as well keep eating. You know better – climb back onto the wagon.
7. Stay conscious. Animals go from stimulus to action. Humans have the ability to take a middle step, contemplation. It is in this middle step where motivation lives. Make as nice a space for it as possible. You do not want to be on automatic pilot.
The holidays can be stressful, but with these seven hints, you can make sure they don’t defeat you.