It’s the same maddening cycle year after year: you spend October through December 31st overindulging in holiday food and drinks, and the rest of the year trying to undo the collateral caloric damage. In fact, a study conducted at Cornell University found that while around half of the weight gained between October and January is usually lost fairly quickly, the other half of the unwanted pounds tends to stubbornly stick around until Easter or after.
We don’t know about you, but we get awfully tired of this cycle; especially considering the amount of time and hard work it can take to meet your fitness goals in the first place. So what to do? Is it possible to break the holiday yo-yoing of our healthy habits? We say yes, and we have a few tips to make it a little easier to break the cycle.
Go ahead. Really.
We know by now that depravity most often leads to overindulgence down the road; whether that road ends an hour later, or a week later. But be smart about your indulgent choices, and choose wisely. You probably don’t care about the stale Christmas cookie in the breakroom as much as you do about your nana’s peanut butter fudge. And when you do indulge, eat it slowly and mindfully. Try to be very aware of the treat’s taste, texture, and smell. Mindful eating can help you to glean more satisfaction from your food, possibly leading you to crave less of it.
Otherwise, eat well.
As you go about your usual routine of work, errands, and chores, eat right. Don’t let a night or two of indulgences cause you to throw your entire healthy eating plan out the Christmas-lit window. Stay strong for 90% of your eating, and the 10% of treats won’t make nearly as much of an impact.
It’s all about the love.
Yes, food is instrumental in many family traditions. However, try to turn your focus toward the loved ones you get to spend time with. Instead of returning for more mashed potatoes, maybe get to know your nieces and nephews a little more, or start a dinner conversation game – we love the ideas found here: https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/fun/dinner-games/ .
Even if it’s not tradition, why not wrangle up the kids, or other willing participants, for a walk around the neighborhood or a game of basketball H-O-R-S-E. Working exercise into a day that’s typically reserved for eating, sitting, more eating, and more sitting can make a huge difference in your efforts to keep your weight in check. Bonus: the fact that exercise is a natural stress-reliever doesn’t hurt, either (Hello, guilt-inducing Grandma!).
Did you know that lack of sleep can trigger your hormones to believe that you’re hungrier than you are? Also, if you’re tired you’re less likely to seek out physical exercise. Make sleep a priority, and you’ll have an easier time keeping your impulses and urges in check, and also getting the exercise you need.