Is it possible to eat healthy during the holidays? Absolutely, especially when you make a plan with this holiday survival guide. Part 1 is the strategies to use before you get to your special occasion.
Part 2 will be all about navigating weight loss and health during and after your special occasion.
Before we start, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. This content isn’t intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
You are 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 might pack on.
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. Holiday weight loss can be as easy as having a manageable plan.
Here is a list of strategies to try before the event. You don’t have to do all of them to be successful.
Simplify to amplify.
You’ll focus on a few things that 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
It may not seem like it, but 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 and will be influenced by your goals, the ability to get back on track afterward, and the occasion.
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 is over.
4. Keep Your Promises and Succeed
Commit out loud or on paper. When you make a promise to yourselves you strengthen your determination.
Here is 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.
I had a plan… but you know what they say about best-laid plans.
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 are addicted to sugar when a holiday arrives, there will be more cravings and temptation, but you can still say, ”No.” You are in complete control of your food intake. 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 with them 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
- Christmas will be such a joy without 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 and 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 are 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 are 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 do anything food-related, 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. I like to keep my carbs low on meals before and after events (think lots of starch-free veggies and protein) to make room for the ones I might eat on a special occasion.
10. Holiday Survival Guide Tip – Stay Active
If there is time before the event, go for a walk or run, hit the gym, or workout at home. This will fire up your metabolism, burn some calories and can help 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. ❤️