Avoiding weight gain between November and January is all about changing what you’ve been doing year after year that has contributed to the inevitable extra pounds you see on the scale on New Year’s Day. If you’re ready to do something different, I’ve got some suggestions to help you get started!
Reflect on Past Patterns
When you look back on how you’ve celebrated the year-end holidays in the past, what patterns of behavior do you see? Are you making several late night trips to the mall to do your shopping, spending every weekend decorating the house and socializing more frequently with friends after work? Does that leave you with less time to prepare and eat meals at home, keep up with your regular workouts, and take the dog for a walk?
Here are some ways you can change those patterns:
- Start your shopping and decorating earlier.
- Invite friends over for pot luck meals instead of eating out.
- Plan fun activities you can do with family and friends, like ice skating, walking for a cause, biking through the neighborhood to see the holiday decorations.
- Give yourself a curfew on week nights so you’re home and in bed on time to get a good night’s sleep.
Consider Your Mindset
What you are thinking as the holidays approach can also influence how you will behave. If you have the attitude “anything goes” because holiday foods are only available once a year, you can end up eating and drinking more than you can possibly enjoy. By changing your mindset to focus on the meaning of all those special foods, you can put the brakes on overeating and savor the memories.
Try these more mindful approaches at your next holiday meal:
- Ask everyone attending to complete this statement: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. without ____________ (insert name of food or drink) because ____________.”
- Get built-in portion control at holiday meals by swapping out your large festive plates and bowls for smaller ones, as covered in this earlier blog.
- Have everyone around the table share a memory of when they first tasted their favorite dish including how old they were, who prepared it, and where they were.
- Make a video of a parent or grandparent preparing a special recipe to share with the rest of the family.
Reorder Your Priorities
Ask yourself what really matters the most to you as you anticipate each holiday, and then make sure you manage your time and resources so you can participate in those events instead of spending so much time at unfulfilling obligations carried over from year to year. Sometimes all it takes is letting go of a few items lower down on your “to-do” list so you can add something new on top. And remember that having healthy holidays is one of the best ways to have happy holidays.
Consider these options to help you have the kind of holiday experience you really want:
- Prepare a lower sugar version of a few favorite holiday recipes by swapping out sugar for SPLENDA® Sweetener Products (as described in this blog) to balance out your menu without giving up the sweetness of the things you love.
- Make an appointment now to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit a house-bound neighbor, pack gifts to send to soldiers overseas, or wrap gifts for needy children.
- Donate the cookies from your annual cookie swap to a nursing home so you won’t have to give up the fun of baking them, but can avoid the temptation of eating them.
- Move up your annual New Year’s Resolution to lose weight by one month and make a December 1stNo Weight Gain Resolution so you can ring in the New Year without those extra pounds.
I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.
For more information about planning a healthy diet, visit the Healthy Lifestyle section of this blog.
Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.