It’s the Hardest Time of Year… For Dieting
If you’ve ever tried getting started on your New Year’s resolution early, then you know that the holidays make dieting a challenge. With all the delicious food, good times, and memories with loved ones, it’s not something we can just pass up.
I mean, how is it possible to get in shape with all the holiday meals? They’re full of all the foods you’re supposed to avoid, like cookies, stuffing, gravy, bread rolls, and many more, when you’re trying to get in shape.
Since the holidays only come once a year it’s important to still celebrate with our family. You have to understand that food has evolved into a way to show appreciation for each other. So you’ll need to have some clear objectives that will help you stay on track, while also being able to enjoy this special time with family.
Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it though. I’ve always had the belief that you should get started on your fitness New Year’s Resolutions early. It’s the best time to get ahead of the pack. When everybody is just starting out you can be a month ahead and have some momentum under your belt. So, even though you might not get perfect results you can start on your New Year’s Resolution and start your dream life now!
So, here are 3 Dieting Hacks for fat loss during the holidays.
1: Log Your Food
If you’re trying to diet and get in shape, then I am a firm believer that you must have some sort of food log. It’s the best accountability tool you could have in your arsenal. By writing down what you have eaten you’re going to be more conscious of what you’re putting in your mouth. The food log gives you time to decide whether or not it’s really worth eating. Deliberately logging will help build awareness, which is an essential skill for dieting. The more you live in the present the more changes you can make to yourself.
Food logging doesn’t just help with overeating, but it also helps provide a clear roadmap of the changes you’ll want to make. If you know what you ate then you can figure out what to change. It’s obvious when it’s right in front of your eyes. “Oh, I had fast food this day, but if I had prepared food I would’ve avoided it.” This is an example of how writing down your food could give you insight into what changes you should make. Without the logging odds are you won’t remember every last thing you ate 2 days ago.
Overall, logging your food is going to keep you committed to your goal while also helping draw awareness onto what you’re bringing into your body. So do it for your own sake because if you can develop this skill, then your chances of success skyrocket. The body of your dreams is waiting on the other side!
2: Have a Plan
In order to reach any goal, you have to have a plan. Everyone knows that. You’ve never seen someone stumble into becoming a billionaire or star baseball player right? So you shouldn’t expect to magically wake up in shape with a 6 pack.
If you want to get in shape then the things you have to do are obvious: diet, exercise, and have a plan. For a diet to work a plan is essential because mistakes are bound to happen. It’s what you do after that mistake that determines whether or not you’ll reach your goals. It’s much better that you just ate that candy bar rather than letting a mistake cause you to binge the whole day.
Also, you probably know the days you’re going to be eating with your family. That’s another way you want to flex your diet around what’s going on. For example, if you know you’ll be eating with family 2x this week, then you can use your 2 cheat meals a week on that. It’s just important that you make the best out of what you are given.
I endorse an 80/20 principle for my clients, so for the holidays, you could use this principle in your plan.
Having a plan of action will help you stay mentally committed to your goal. All that matters is that you are giving attention to your goal and keeping it relevant in your life. Because during the holidays just maintaining your weight can be a huge accomplishment.
Imagine how you’ll feel when you follow your plan. For example, if your plan is to walk after every meal, then whenever you accomplish that you’ll feel energized to reach your goals. This boost in confidence will help you build the momentum you need to make it through the holidays.
The most important thing about having a plan is to make sure that it’s realistic. Whenever it’s the holidays your diet won’t be perfect, but it’s important you don’t let it keep you from improving. Walking after every meal for 5 minutes is realistic, but eating 2000 calories a day might not be.
Your plan will help you create balance in your life. Sharing love and appreciation with your family, while also giving attention to your own goals.
3: Maintain Your Habits
Whenever you are headed into the holidays it’s important that you don’t let go of habits you’ve built.
You see, in our culture food has developed past just being a means of staying alive. Instead, it has become a way of showing love and spending time together.
So, during the holidays it’s important to know that it’s ok to eat with your family. It’s something we only get to do a few times a year and it’s an expression of love.
Keeping that in mind you still have your goal of getting in shape or losing weight.
So during the holidays, you have to do damage control. Meaning that you need to keep maintaining the habits that you need in order to reach your goals like:
- Food logging – This is mentioned earlier, but food logging is an essential tool and habit that anybody looking to change the way they look must master.
- Getting your daily step goal in – By getting your steps in you can continue burning plenty of calories, while also maintaining your cardiovascular health. Try to find an easy way to incorporate walking into your daily plan. For example, after every meal you eat you go on a 15 minute walk. By the end of the day you will have easily gotten your steps in.
- Continue going to the gym/working out – No matter where you go you should also consider maintaining your workout program. Even if it’s just at-home workouts you can still challenge yourself. This helps you maintain your metabolism, muscle mass, and helps your body use some of the extra calories rather than store them. Most importantly, it helps keep you accountable. By finding time for even a 30 minute workout you are fueling your motivation to get in shape. The workout is a reminder of the commitment you made to yourself!
- Meal prep for the week – By having your food prepared for the week you’ll leave yourself less likely to binge. That’s because odds are you’re going to eat holiday leftovers, if that’s all you have to eat. Meanwhile, if you prepared your meals, then you’ll eat them because they’re just as convenient as the leftovers. This also makes it easier to stick to whatever plan you have to enjoy the holiday times.
When you are able to maintain your habits over the holidays it’s going to make it easier for you to return to dieting and focusing on your goals. If you’re able to do this year after year you’ll be able to keep stacking your skills and building your willpower so that you don’t feel stressed between eating right and holiday meals with family.
It’s the Best Time to Get Started
Just because you will end up having foods off your diet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. If you are ready to change your life don’t sit and wait a whole month to live the life you want.
You should take the mentality that starting today is better than waiting for tomorrow because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. There’s that saying: “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” It won’t be perfect, because that’s how it is during this time of year, but that is not an excuse for not bettering yourself.
Instead, you should aim to keep balance in your life. Look out and have your own back to keep yourself from getting too off track from the things in life you want. If you want your goal to last, then you have to find ways to make it fit in with what’s going on in your life. If it’s a time to celebrate with family you might not be able to give your 100% to dieting, but you can still put in the effort to change in different ways.
It’s about better, not perfect. Instead of aiming to be perfect, focus on doing what you can, because if you’re doing more than before, then you’re winning. I’ve always believed that getting started on your New Year’s Resolution early is the best idea!
Remember, the best time to get started was yesterday, and the second-best time to start is today. So get out there because I know you guys can do it!
If you liked this article and want more tips on all things health and fitness, check out our Fenix Fitness Blog, for more posts.
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