Now that I have reached my WW goal weight, I am focusing on maintaining my weight loss. In many ways, maintaining is a lot harder than losing – especially if you are like me, someone whose weight has yo-yoed for years. But this time my weight loss is different (it was much slower), and I am committed to not falling back into old, unhealthy eating habits. I have put a lot of thought into how to maintain, not gain during the holidays.
That being said, I actually do want to lose about five more pounds, but I realize that December is not the month for me to focus on weight loss. Right now I want to focus on maintaining, not gaining, while still enjoying the holidays. This is what is working for me.
How to Maintain Not Gain During the Holidays
Treat Don’t Cheat. This is really all about mindset. When I think that I am treating myself, I choose to eat one cookie, one small slice of pie, or a tall (not grande) gingerbread latte; however, when I think of cheating, I seem to throw all caution out the window and go hog wild. When I treat myself, I am in control and mindful of my eating. If I give myself permission to cheat – I don’t give a second thought to what I am placing in my mouth. Being mindful helps.
Cook in Batches. This is such a busy time of year that it is so easy to turn to fast and processed food choices to deal with our stress levels and the time crunch that comes with the holidays. I know for me, I am running errands everyday after work, this cuts into my dinner prep time. Plus, I’m getting home even more tired and hungry than normal. So if I already have something to go stored in the fridge or easy to pull from the freezer, I am much more likely to eat healthy. Some of my favorite foods to cook in batches and freeze are: Meatballs Three Different Ways, Turkey Chili, Black Bean and Vegetable Burritos (using light tortillas), and Red Pozole with Chicken.
Plan. Planning becomes even more important during the holidays because of all the special occasions that we will be attending. Whether it is a family dinner, book club meeting, office party, or cookie exchange, the parties are going to be happening. Planning our food choices during the week when we do have control, and then planning on how we will deal with the food choices during the parties takes some forethought. When I have a party I plan on attending, I start saving points up before hand so that I will have extra points to enjoy during the gathering. It is about finding a healthy balance throughout each day and over the course of the week.
Rely on Routines. After Thanksgiving, it felt good to get back to work and my daily eating plan. I know what I like and how those WW points add up. Getting back to healthy eating felt good! I knew that I was, once again, nourishing my body the right way. While I loved the pumpkin pie, stuffing, and mashed potatoes with gravy, it really felt healthy to get back to my Greek yogurt with berries, veggie omelettes. salads, and chicken. Healthy eating does feel good.
Move More. This is super important to me. When I know that I will be indulging, I try to get out and move a bit more. Sometimes this is 10 extra minutes in the pool swimming laps, or an added walk around the neighborhood at night. Now I don’t really think that my extra walk around the block will erase my frothy spiked Duarte’s egg nog, but it does help me be more mindful of my choices.
Focus on Experiences. When you are hanging with family and friends, think more about the joy of spending time together than you do the appetizer table. If the cheese board is calling your name, and you are having a hard time staying away, see if someone wants to play a game of charades, checkers, or work on a puzzle together. It is ok to move away from the food and seek the company of others. Plus, most everyone loves a bit of competition and fun.
Maintaining not gaining throughout the holidays will be tricky for me. I do love a good party, yummy food, and all the festivities that come with the holidays. I look forward every year to Starbuck’s gingerbread lattes, Duarte’s spiked Egg Nog, and homemade cookies from my students. This year I am combining the above strategies with the better eating habits that I have developed over the last ten months. I plan on enjoying all the festivities of the holidays, treat myself to small indulgences, and not gain weight.
What tips do you have on how to maintain not gain during the holidays? Please share! I’d love to know.