Smart Tips to Help You Enjoy the Holiday Season
Q: Besides struggling to steer clear of all the tempting foods, I’m worried about sticking to my workouts while I’m traveling and staying with family. I’m doing so well — how can I avoid falling off the wagon during the holidays?
A: Oh, the holiday 15! ‘Tis the season that begets the New Year’s resolution: “I swear I’ll never do that again.” First off — you’re not alone! So many of us go through the same stuff every year: stress because of family tensions, traveling, being away from our routine, whatever — and it’s anything but easy. But here’s the good news: You can stick to your weight-loss program during the holidays, and I’m going to give you a few tips on how to do it.
Never arrive at a party hungry. Eat beforehand so you aren’t tempted by the caloric buffet.
When you’re at a party, don’t hang out by the food. Socialize in another room entirely if you can — make the holidays about good company and conversation instead of eggnog and fruitcake.
Take matters into your own hands. Bring a healthy dish to a party or event so you know that at least one item won’t be filled with fat and calories. Don’t worry — this is not offensive! It’s a thoughtful gift for the host or hostess, and proactive on your part.
Don’t binge, but do indulge a tiny bit. You can’t totally deprive yourself or you’ll be miserable. Trying to abstain completely from treats, not only during the holidays but in your everyday life, is a surefire recipe for disaster. However, give yourself limits — have one treat, and work it into your calorie allowance for the day.
When you’re out of town or away from home, DO NOT stop exercising. Bring exercise DVDs with you when you travel, or pack resistance bands in your luggage so you can continue to tone up on the road. Locate a nearby gym and pay the nominal fee to work out during the time you’re away. Whatever it takes — just keep moving!
Incorporate the whole family. Get a game of touch football going, play tag with the kids, go cross-country skiing — whatever encourages your family to get outdoors and be healthy together.
Avoid saboteurs. If a particular member of your family always brings you down or ridicules your lifestyle decisions, avoid him or her! Limit your conversation with that person. If friends or relatives can’t be supportive of you and your weight-loss goals, don’t share the details of your life with them. Then they won’t be able to berate or criticize you.
When it comes to family members who push food on you, be prepared to hold firm. This is about doing something for you, so don’t worry about pleasing everybody else. Communicate with your loved ones ahead of time about your effort to lose weight and your desire for their support, and teach them how to help you.
Bring motivational material with you if you’re walking into temptation. Keep a picture of you at a slimmer time or even a celebrity photo at hand to keep you inspired.
All of that said, if you do fall off the wagon, what’s the worst-case scenario? You’ll gain 5 or 10 pounds. This is not a tragedy. Hang in there. Give yourself a little credit — any pound gained is a pound that can be lost. Do NOT beat yourself up — just get back to work!
Happy holidays, guys!*
*COURTESY OF JILLIAN MICHAELS
MBJ Health and Fitness
1530 East Bloomingdale Avenue
Valrico, FL 33596