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Mindful Eating and Planning – How to Ward off the Dreaded Christmas Weight Gain

12535659 - young happy woman in wheat field with peach. summer picnic

Depending on who you listen to, it has been reported that people can gain an average of 7-10lbs over the holidays season. The reality according to the New England Journal of Medicine states that people on average usually only gain about 1lb of christmas cheer while for individuals who are obese the weight gain is around 5lbs.

You may be thinking,  “Okay…that doesn’t sound so bad!”

The first problem is that this weight typically doesn’t come off and this is a huge contributing factor to the notion that most people gain 1-2lbs per year. The second problem is because of the types of high sugared and carb foods combined with low activity, alcohol and maybe even a bit of stress, this weight tends to go right to the middle.   

So what are we going to do about it?

Sticking to your lifestyle plan through the holidays doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, nor is it realistic.  On the flip side, eating as much as you want for an entire week or month is not going to be great for your health or waistline.

Much of the problem with the holiday indulging is not Christmas dInner but rather the fact  

that these days Christmas starts on November 1st!  I have already heard of multiple people that have already had Christmas parties not to mention the goodies have already started to be brought into the office. Christmas cookies and cakes are at every bakery, coffee shop and grocery store. And we can’t forget the holiday drinks! You can get warm around a cozy fire at Starbucks with an eggnog latte, but you must also recognize that you are sucking back 12 tsp of sugar at the same time.

Here is a breakdown of four mentalities I am going to challenge you not to have:

  1. The ostrich mentality – I am going to eat whatever I want, bury my head in the sand about how much weight I am gaining, and just worry about it in January.
  2. The overachievers mentality – I have been on such a roll, I am not having any indulgences or experiences over the Christmas season.
  3. The people pleaser mentality – I really don’t want to eat Aunt Bettys’ Christmas cake, or her stuffing but I just feel like I should not to be rude. (You are only cheating yourself here – Aunt Betty will probably not even notice, or she will get over it.)
  4. The guilty mentality – Wow that Christmas dessert of Susan’s was amazing, but now I am not going to eat for the next 3 days because I feel so guilty about going off my plan.

And here is my recommended approach:

The Happy and Balanced Mentality: In order for lifestyle plans to be successful, they need to be structured but flexible. Meaning, it is important to come on and off your plan and feel good about it.

Top 3 Tips to Achieve the Happy and Balanced Mentality

  1. Plan – in the next week or so, sit down and plan out all of the functions that you have, and decide what is going to be at those functions. Depending on where you are in your journey you may have different amounts of free meals in a week. Decide which of these meals are going to be your free meals, and which of those meals you are going to stay on plan.

Other than these scheduled events, you are eating according to plan. This will ward off the Christmas holiday run to Starbucks at 2pm on a Tuesday…knowing that at your party on Friday night you are having wine and dessert!

  1. Always eat properly through the day. Starving yourself all day because you know you are going out at night never works.

Have a little snack before going to a dinner party when you know there is going to be tempting food. If you are satiated you will make better decisions. I often do a protein shake with water, or a handful of nuts.

  1. Be Mindful – the most important thing for people to be on a successful lifestyle plan is to feel they can come off of it and enjoy their traditional and comfort foods. However, when you are eating this food (for me this is either wine or butter tarts) eat it slowly, experience each flavour, savour the bites. You are making a conscious choice to eat this treat instead of all of the other mindless things you may have put in your mouth along the way…so enjoy!

Biggest challenge for you: mindfully indulge, enjoy the experience and maintain your weight through the holiday season.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season, and all of the best for 2017!

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