Is it possible to eat healthy during the holidays? Absolutely, especially when you make a plan with this holiday survival guide. Use these strategies before you get to your special occasion.
Then check out this post for weight loss and health tips for during and after your special occasion.
You’re on track with weight loss and then – the ultimate trick – Halloween arrives…
Christmas, your birthday, his birthday, anyone’s birthday, work party, Cinco de Mayo…you name it: it’s approaching. Every month has its own special temptations.
Or worse, you’re over your ideal weight and the season looming ahead makes you dread the extra pounds you could gain.
I can relate.
- Halloween binges that didn’t slow down until after the New Year.
- Leftover birthday cake that slice by slice turned into breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Potlucks where I filled to capacity then topped off with 3 decadent desserts. How is there always room for dessert?
It doesn’t take much to derail you. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to stay on track either. You just need a plan. Having a strategy before, during, and after the event gives you healthy new habits to replace habitual, sabotaging choices.
It’s not the holiday you conquer, but yourself.
Here’s a list of strategies to try before the event. You don’t have to do all of them to be successful.
Simplify to amplify.
Focus on the things you know will be successful.
10 Holiday Survival Guide Tips
1. Know Your Why for Staying on Track with Health
Your end result. What do you want and why? And then ask why again, until you get to the heart of the matter. Most of the time your end result is a feeling. Happy, confident, strong, free.
Example: You want to lose weight to look good in your clothes. Why? So you can wear whatever you want without camouflaging extra weight. Why? To have confidence. Why? To feel good or happy.
2. Make a Decision
You always have options. It seems like others force you into things, but bottom line: you decide.
Will you make an exception to your diet, go a little off track, or hold the line no matter what? It’s a personal choice influenced by your goals and your ability to get back on track afterward.
3. Holiday Survival Guide Plan of Action
What will and won’t you eat? How will you turn down food? What will you say? Will there be healthy substitutes? Which of these tips can you use and how will you use them?
Be realistic and if this is your first time making different choices, take baby steps with your plan. Write it down, imagine the event with the outcome you want, the choices you’ll make, and how you will feel before, during, and especially after it’s over.
4. Keep Your Promises and Succeed
Commit out loud or on paper. When you make a promise to yourselves you strengthen your resolve.
Here’s an example: In the past on Halloween, I ate candy until I felt sick. This would often lead to the beginning of ‘The Holiday Down Slide’.
One year, I promised myself I wouldn’t eat any Halloween candy.
The plan was to have a healthy dessert ready for a candy substitute, but I ran out of time. To limit temptation, I also meant to tell my kids not to offer me candy, but I forgot.
My simple promise was what kept me on track.
When my boys offered me chocolate, I thanked them and told them I didn’t want to start up my sugar addiction. The next morning, I was proud of my accomplishment. This gave me confidence and determination to avoid the candy while it was in the house for the rest of the week.
If you’re addicted to sugar when a holiday arrives, there’ll be more cravings and temptation, but you can still say, ”No.” Be strong with your promise.
5. Be Accountable
If you need more motivation to keep your promise, you can tell a friend, spouse, child, (whoever will support you the most) about your plan.
Let them know you’ll check back in afterward. Make it clear: you don’t want to be shamed, but would like encouragement. They may even have helpful strategies to offer.
6. Bust False Beliefs about Holiday Weight Gain
What are some false beliefs you have about yourself and the event?
- I can’t lose weight at this time of year. Holiday weight loss is impossible!
- Christmas isn’t the same without fill-in-the-blank.
- I can never control myself when there are yummy desserts.
- People won’t understand. It is easier to just eat the junk than to answer their questions.
- I want to enjoy myself.
Find Positive Beliefs That Are Just as True
- The holidays will be more enjoyable knowing I won’t have 10 lbs to lose afterward.
- I choose what I eat regardless of temptations.
- Tomorrow, I will feel fantastic about my choices.
- People will be curious about what I am doing. My new eating habits can be inspiring.
- I can enjoy myself in lots of ways that don’t involve unhealthy food choices.
7. Give it to God and Relax
Give your concerns and requests to God and ask Him to help you with your upcoming event. You were meant to live in joy and health. Let God give you the strength you need.
If you aren’t a believer look into the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping) or meditate beforehand. When you’re relaxed you make better decisions.
8. Get Some Sleep
Sleeping 7- 9 hrs the night before your occasion gives you the upper hand on controlling sugar cravings and lowering stress. You’re less impulsive when your hunger hormones are working with and not against you.
9. Holiday Survival Guide Tip – Keep Hunger Away
The experts all agree, filling up on healthy food before you go to the event gives you strength in making better choices.
It’s tempting to skip meals before a big event, but going to any meal ravenous not only causes you to overindulge but to justify it too.
Keep your carbs low on meals before and after events (think lots of starch-free veggies and protein) to make room for the ones you might eat at your special occasion.
10. Holiday Survival Guide Tip – Stay Active
If there’s time before the event, go for a walk or run, hit the gym, or workout at home. This fires up your metabolism, burns calories, and helps motivate you to keep making healthy choices at the event.
Plus, it burns through carbs in your muscles and liver so incoming carbs have a place to go besides your fat cells.
Holiday Survival Guide Bonus Tip: Go for it.
Sometimes part of a holiday survival guide is knowing it’s only one day. Maybe you want to indulge on your birthday, Thanksgiving, or some other special occasion with comfort foods that bring back memories or special treats you don’t normally eat.
Do it. Living in food freedom means you get to decide. Allow yourself to really enjoy it. Will you feel bad afterward? Maybe, but that’s not a failure, just a chance to learn to make different choices next time.
Beware of the constant exception though. If one-holiday meal exception turns to weekly and then daily exceptions, you’ll want to get back on track.
Remember, Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living which makes healthy ways – shapely ways.
What’s your next special event? How have you stayed on track during a holiday? I adore hearing from you! Share your stories in the comments below.
Thank you for being here and chatting with me about all things health. Health journeys are made more fun when shared, so be sure to leave a comment below. ❤️