With the holidays fast approaching, it is easy to feel stressed about upcoming food choices. The abundance of food at work, during parties and even samples in the big box grocery stores can make it difficult to stay with your healthy eating plan.
When I weighed 305 pounds, I didn’t fear the holidays – rather I used the holiday months as an excuse to quit trying to eat healthier. I’d figuratively throw my hands into the air and say, “Well, who could diet when there is cheesecake, sugared pecans, chocolate by the pound and tasty dinners everywhere I look?”
During each holiday season, I baked my way into gaining more and more weight. I bought bags and bags of candy “for the kids” while secretly eating the bags no one but me knew existed. Although I was never active once I gained 150 pounds, I was even less active during those winter months. The shopping trips, the social events and all the cooking wore me out. Every evening I’d put my slippered feet on the coffee table and spread out the chips, ice cream and chocolate on my lap. I’d work my way through an additional 1,000 calories between dinner and bedtime.
In the spring of 1997, I found myself finally ready to begin my final diet. I was done being fat, tired of feeling exhausted all the time and scared for my health. I knew when I began my diet that I was going to have to learn new strategies for getting through those difficult holidays. After all, I wasn’t going to be able to lose over 150 pounds between spring and winter.
In the beginning of my journey, there weren’t that many holidays, and that did make it easier to stay focused. I got through Easter and the abundance of chocolate eggs by chewing lots of gum and drinking herbal tea. By the time November rolled around, I had lost about 100 pounds and was feeling good about myself.
I did worry if I’d be able to control myself from mid-November through Valentine’s Day. I outlined a plan for myself that helped me successful keep losing weight during those months. Here are 5 strategies that worked for me:
- I weighed myself regularly. No skipping my morning scale appointment. Every morning, I’d get on the scale and assess where I was.
- I allowed myself 2 treats a week. Not every day, or every other day – but 2 a week worked for me. The interesting thing is that I didn’t always eat them, but I knew they were there if I wanted them.
- I added a few minutes of exercise to my routine. By that point I had worked up to exercising about 30 to 45 minutes a day. Adding a few minutes helped me burn a few extra calories each day.
- I modified our family’s favorite holiday recipes to make them lower in fat and calories.
- I didn’t give up if I “fell off the wagon” and ate something high-calorie or fattening. I just returned to my plan right away.
I’d encourage you not to worry about the holidays – rather have a plan in mind that can help you meet your goals.