I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.
I love spending time with family and eating delicious foods.
I love spreading my gratitude and focusing on sharing good vibes with everyone around me.
I hate the stress that the holiday season can bring.
I hate the intense focus on weight gain that creeps out of the woodwork over the holidays.
Why is it that we choose the holiday season to focus so much on preventing weight gain?
It’s because we don’t usually follow our rest-of-the-year routine during the holidays.
We let loose: we eat cookies and pies and fruitcakes and…other stuff.
Things that we don’t usually come into contact with during the rest of the year.
But why is there such a fear around weight gain?
Just because you eat foods that you don’t usually eat doesn’t mean that you’re going to automatically gain weight. Even if you do gain weight, it only takes 21 days to lose fat when your fully commited to correcting your diet.
Sometimes I think that seeing those “keep the weight off during the holidays” headlines EVERYWHERE actually causes us to gain weight.
Of course, when you’re bombarded by those headlines, weight gain will be all you can think about.
And if you have a weird relationship with food, or you’re on a diet, the thought of gaining weight is scary.
For a lot of people, the fear of gaining weight over the holidays is so anxiety producing that it causes some self-sabotage.
The headlines make it seem like weight gain is inevitable, so it’s easy to say:
Well, I’m going to gain weight anyway, so f*ck it: I’m going to gorge on holiday foods.”
Don’t let the media scare you.
Weight gain over the holidays is not a sure thing.
And the fear of gaining weight is no reason to throw your healthy eating out the window.
If anything, it’s a reason to continue to focus on eating foods that make you feel good (physically, mentally and emotionally), and to practice consciously enjoying some of your favorite holiday foods.
Here are 5 tips to keep the weight-gain-fear out of the holidays:
Consciously indulge your holiday cravings.
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with eating holiday cookies. Let me say that again: there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with eating holiday cookies. Eat them. Just make sure that you enjoy them. That you’re consciously making the decision to indulge. That you’re consciously making the decision to ENJOY them. If this seems like a foreign concept, make yourself some Paleo holiday cookies, like gingerbread cookies, or grain-free sugar cookies.
Fill in the gaps with whole foods.
Fill in the gaps between holiday cookies with lots of whole foods– get back to your usual healthy routine. Lots of veggies, animal protein and healthy fats to keep you vibrant and satisfied (and feeling good.)
Spend some time at the gym (or moving in a way you enjoy).
You don’t need to kill yourself at the gym over the holidays– maybe just try to stick with your normal workout schedule. Keeping things as “normal” as possible can bring some sanity to the holiday season. If your gym has holiday hours, consider getting a WOD in at home. There are tons of great resources out there for travel WODs you can do with minimal equipment (or just your body weight). I’m personally looking forward to a pre-Thanksgiving WOD at home on the monkey bars. If you don’t have monkey bars at home, you could always go to a playground…and play!
Focus on family and friends.
The holidays are really about spending time with family and friends. When you’re with family, try to focus on being in the moment and enjoying their company (instead of focusing on food). Listen to stories, share your own stories, and laugh!
Talk it out.
If the fear of gaining weight over the holidays feels overwhelming, it might be worth talking to someone about it. Someone like a health counselor who has professional experience supporting people just like you to work through their fears and heal their relationship with food. No one wants to feel that paralyzing worry about weight when trying to enjoy such a celebratory time of year.
The holidays should be mostly joyful.
Don’t let your fear of gaining weight get in the way of you enjoying yourself.
If you feel like you’d like to talk it out before the holiday season, consider taking advantage of a free 30 minute Nutrition Discovery Session.
We’ll talk about your goals and come up with some strategies to start overcoming your fear of weight gain and to enjoy yourself this holiday season.
How do you conscious indulge during the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday food to enjoy?