Holidays are a big part of the American experience. Our calendar has almost monthly celebrations of fun, family, friends and most of all food! Besides all of the shopping and festivities, food dominates both in our media and in our homes. Halloween treats & candy, Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and pies, Christmas cookies etc. From News Years Day to the end of the year New Year’s Eve, food and alcohol present a pleasant but deadly minefield of epic caloric proportions.
We all want to enjoy it and to be honest you should! Life is short and denying yourself will not work in the long run. Why? Because pain, whether it be physical, mental or emotional is hard wired into our systems to be avoided at all costs. Both consciously and unconsciously your brain will steer you away from activities and experiences that are painful. This is the main reason people’s diets fail, even outside the fact that most dietary plans are full of holes and scientifically inaccurate.
So if denying ourselves all of the scrumptious goodies on holidays (and any other time) will always fail in the long run, and if giving in to temptation while lots of fun won’t work in the long run either, what do we do? Let’s look at some common sense, practical tactics you can apply this weekend or the next major holiday.
- Give yourself a Break– If you are stressed and miserable, chances are very high that no matter how much weight you lose, eventually you’ll put it all back on. Eating correctly for weight loss and still being able to enjoy yourself is key to your success. So step #1, stop stressing and freaking out when it comes to holidays and weekends. A meal is just a meal. A cookie is just a cookie. A little fun here and there is not gonna sink the ship as long as the rest of your week is above water.
- Have a Plan– If you know Saturday night will be dinner at a friend’s house with lots of goodies then eat well and correctly during the week and when Saturday night rolls around, enjoy yourself! Now don’t eat your way into a nauseous coma but have some fun without the guilt. Make sure you have set yourself up for success to get back on the wagon the next day so when your buddy offers a doggy bag of cookies you can politely refuse.
- Have Personal Support– whether it’s a friend, spouse trainer etc. have someone in your corner that’s supportive of your efforts. They should be a combination coach, confidante, cheerleader and sounding board. Seems simple but with the right person (or persons) behind you you’ll be much more successful. They can help keep you on the straight and narrow when excessive temptation threatens to overwhelm you.
- Stop Hanging around those that Tear you Down– not advising you to kick your spouse to the curb, but if someone is sapping your mojo then you need to move away from their influence and spend time with those who have your best interests at heart.
- Be Flexible– You’re gonna screw up. It’s inevitable and human. So be prepared for it so that when it happens you can acknowledge it, understand it, set a new goal, get a new plan, take action and get back on track.
These are just a few good, common sense tactics that can be helpful at any time and on any day (especially holidays) to eat healthy and successfully for weight-loss while allowing yourself the realistic freedom to have a life. Live, eat, be merry and give yourself a chance to be successful. In the long run, the trick to incredible health and a great physique lies in feeling happy and empowered, not deprivation, denial and boredom.