5 Strategies to Stay in Shape During the Holidays

Hi all, 

The holidays are here and with them, so come yummy meals! So to get you prepared for the holidays, today's edition of Dr C., will look at 5 strategies to stay in shape during the holidays. 

5 Strategies to Stay in Shape During the Holidays


Pay attention to your thoughts! It's incredibly easy to tune out your thoughts during the holidays with all the busy deadlines at work and holiday parties. However, it's more important than ever during there holidays to pay attention to your thoughts and actively listen to yourself instead of running on autopilot. Below we will talk about three instances where you can pay extra attention to your thoughts:

At events: 


Treat a holiday meal just like any normal meal. So while you're at an event, actively tell yourself a special statement that will help you from overindulging. These statements will help you from overindulging and to eat mindfully! However, life is all about balance so you always have to have treats from time to time. Perhaps, try having a glass of water before going for that second serving or opting for a small piece of desert instead of going for seconds. Plus you can always reheat any leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. 

To craft your statement, word it positively, as opposed in a negative way. For instance: 

"This is a normal meal, eat until my body tells me I'm stuffed." 

Instead of...

"don't eat anymore, you're going to get fat." 

When you're engaging in "ALL OR NONE" thinking when it comes to eating. 

More often then not, many of us say "well today's my cheat day so that means come Monday, I'll go back to eating boring food". Instead, how about finding the middle ground and having small treats throughout the week and the weekend, so there's no reason to have to restrict yourself come Monday. 


When you're EMOTIONAL: 

The holidays stir up a lot of emotions, whether it's sadness, stress, or anger. So make sure to pay attention to the thoughts that are causing you to feel these emotions. When you're aware you're feeling this way, focus on strategies to make you feel better instead of grabbing for comfort foods. More often then not, you're likely to feel even worse after reaching for that tub of ice-cream. So instead, try forcing yourself to smile (I swear it works), jumping up and down (I'm really serious, it works), going for a walk, or doing something else that can make you happy. Doing one of these will help you snap out of your mood at least momentarily so you can then come up with a more productive solution for the problem. 


 Find the right MOTIVATOR: 

Find an incentive that will help you stay on track. Find two actually: one where you can reward yourself weekly and then a big one at the end of the goal; this can be New Years Day, for example. 

It's important that food is never considered a reward. But instead reward yourself by increasing the budget for a big holiday gift to yourself or perhaps treating yourself to a massage or nail art. Also look for treats that you don't normally buy or engage in, otherwise it won't be that powerful and motivating. 


Control your surroundings. Altering the surroundings around you when at work, home, the mall, or at an event can make it that much easier for you to make the best decisions on a day to day basis. This means paying attention to when you eat and how you eat and exercise in these contexts: 


-Mindfully eat at work, home, and in other settings. Try to avoid distractions when you're eating, so sit when you're eating and avoid eating while working or watching television since you're more likely to overeat when distracted. 

-Try using a smaller plate when eating since using smaller plates means smaller portions. 


-Avoid skipping meals! If you ate a lot the previous day/night at a holiday event, make sure to still have your regular breakfast the next day. This is because you're more likely to overeat and make poorer food choices at your next meal when you skip meals. 


-Exercise in the morning. if you start the day off right, you're more likely to make better decisions throughout the day. 

-If you're extra busy one day, perhaps take the stairs instead of the elevator at work and at the mall and/or try parking farther away when you park anywhere. 


Get your sleep! Make sure to get your usual amount of sleep. It can be easy to skimp out on sleep with all of the busy end of the year deadlines and events but you're more likely to be emotional and choose poor food choices when you're tired. Check out this blog post for more sleep recommendations


Be Realistic! The last tip, I'll leave you with is be realistic. Trying to maintain your weight during the holiday can be more realistic than say trying to lost 15 pounds during the same timeframe. 

Keep these tips in mind and go enjoy some yummy treats! 


Dr. C.

Disclaimer: Information being provided on this page is general in nature and is not intended to replace or serve as therapy. Should you be experiencing emotional distress or difficulties at school, work, or with relationships, it is encouraged that you contact your insurance health provider to locate a mental health professional in your area. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others at your nearest emergency room.