Surviving the Holidays – How to manage your weight during the holiday season!
The holiday season is upon us. Time for parties, gatherings and food of all kinds. With all the hustle and bustle it can be easy to lose track of your weight management goals. The holidays (the 6-8 weeks between mid-November and early January) are traditionally associated with weight gain. While some still want to lose weight during this time of year, others are thrilled to just maintain where they are.
So, why is the holiday season so challenging? There are a variety of factors including increased number of social gatherings with high-calorie food and drinks. This brings a change in the usual social environment making weight management more difficult. There can also be added stress of trying to prepare for the holidays and can take a toll on physical, mental and emotional health. With all the competing demands, you may find yourself with limited time to be physically active.
On a positive note, weight goals can be achieved during the holidays. The key to success it to go into it with a plan. Take ownership by deciding ahead of time what you are going to do to make it a success.
Here are some steps you can take to manage your weight during the holidays:
1. Get out a pen and paper. Making a physical list can help you visualize your goals.
2. Identify your main weight management goal for the holidays. Set a reasonable goal that you can achieve. Be sure the goal is specific.
3. List at least 3 things you will do to achieve this goal.
Here are some ideas:
– Maintain an exercise routine that you are already doing
– Monitor portion sizes
– Weigh yourself regularly
– Add more activity into your routine
– Make choices about which holiday foods are worth eating and skip items that aren’t special or important to you
– Bring a healthy dish to share (my personal favorite)
– Skip or reduce alcoholic beverage intake
– Focus on non-food elements of the holiday season
– Pack healthy snacks while traveling
– Share your weight loss goals with someone in your life and ask them to support you
4. Write down anticipated barriers. It is a normal part of goal setting to run into barriers.
5. Come up with a plan to get around these barriers. With strategies in mind, you will be prepared to face the challenges head-on.
6. Look at your plan frequently during the holidays. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget all you had set out to do. Reviewing your goals as often as possible (daily would be best) will help you stay mindful and focused.
If you have diabetes, things can even become more complex.
Diabetes management should be the highest priority no matter your weight goal. You can manage your weight and your diabetes too. Here are some suggestions:
- Be easy on yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned. Maybe your blood sugars do not do what you had expected or you find yourself faced with only high calorie food choices. Do your best to adapt and be proud of all the good you are doing.
- Do not eliminate your favorite foods. Instead, eat them in appropriate portions and dose insulin as accurately as possible.
Keep your intake balanced. Try to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Decide which carbs are most important and cut back on the others.
- Continue eating 3 meals per day. Skipping meals can cause fluctuation in blood sugars. You may also find yourself starving when you arrive to a social event which could result in overconsumption of calories and mindless eating.
- Keep your alcohol consumption in-check. If you choose to drink, do so moderately and include some food along the way.
- Keep your eye on your blood sugar. Pay attention to your CGM or do frequent finger sticks and make corrections as needed.
- Be active. Take time each day to get in some physical activity. Do it safely by managing your insulin and always have fast-acting carbs on-hand.
Most importantly, enjoy this time of year. Your goals can be a guide that will remove guilt and stress from the festivities and social events.
If you have diabetes, you know there are added complexities to losing and maintaining weight. If you would like individualized help, we could meet and come up with a plan just for YOU.
Don’t let the holidays slow you down, there is no better time than now! I specialize in weight management and offer a lifestyle change program that will help you develop habits for long-term results. For more information, please contact Integrated Diabetes Services at 877-735-3648 (in N America) or +1 (610) 642-6055 (outside N America) and ask for a free introduction to the program. Or read more about our Weigh To Be You program.
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