Don't Let the Holidays Derail Your Weight Loss
Whether you’re maintaining your weight or trying to lose those last few pounds before Thanksgiving, I’d like to share my thoughts on how to manage your weight the same way you would manage a project at work, school or home.
In the real world, it’s admittedly difficult to prep healthy food in advance and squeeze in a trip to the gym between commuting to work, dealing with home projects, driving kids to football or dance and trying to get to bed by 11 p.m. every night.
Add in the additional responsibilities of holiday activities and—no surprise here--watching your weight plummets on the priority scale.
But you can do it nonetheless, it just takes a little planning.
My most successful patients, who face losing hundreds of pounds after bariatric surgery, organize their lives to put nutrition, exercise and other healthy endeavors on equal ground with the other aspects of daily life—no matter what.
Here are some of my favorite tips and tools to plan a more organized strategy that will support your path to a healthier holiday season:
1. Figure Out What Needs Fixing
Everyone has periods of time when eating right and exercising goes off kilter. Take a few minutes to figure out when and why this happens. Are you running out of healthy foods too often? Are you stressed at night dealing with the kids and eating to calm down? Are you so exhausted you can’t be bothered with working out? Once you identify these triggers, you can create a plan to overcome these challenges.
2. Organize Your Surroundings
Without a doubt, living or working in a chaotic environment is stressful. If the kitchen is a mess, there is no food in the house and you can never find your favorite sneakers, you’re putting yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage. Get your home and office back under control; start with the most disorganized space and clean it up. (This can usually be accomplished in less time than you think and the results will make you feel five pounds lighter).
3. Schedule Your Workouts the Same Way You Schedule a Meeting
Pick a specific time during the weekend to review your calendar for the days ahead and schedule your workouts accordingly. And then actually go—no matter what.
4. Plan Meals, Grocery Shopping and Cooking Once a Week
Reviewing your schedule for the week will help figure out where and when you’ll be eating meals, what foods you’ll need, and how much time you need to cook. Look at the weekly grocery store circular and stock up on healthy items that are on sale. Planning saves money.
5. Go to Bed—No Excuses
Sleep deprivation interferes with weight loss by confusing hormones that signal hunger and fullness levels. Research shows that people who stay up late consume more calories than those who go to sleep at about the same time each night. When you're tired, your willpower wanes. Even as adults, you still need to aim for eight hours of quality sleep per night.
Managing your weight during the holidays is like taking medicine—you train yourself to do it every day, just like brushing your teeth and eating lunch.
Which areas of your life could reap the biggest improvement if they were just a little more organized? Start there. In a few short weeks, you are going to realize the positive impact on your life—and your waistline.
When January rolls around, you’ll be starting a new year looking and feeling your best. Now that’s the way to welcome 2016.