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For some reason I always start a diet or new eating plan in October or November so I would always try to lose weight during the holidays which was not much fun. Last year I took a different approach. I committed to an eating plan that satisfied my hunger, fueled my body and that I could sustain for life (no sugar, no flour).
I chose to follow this eating plan over the holidays. Notice the wording here, I chose, and how different that sounds. This took a lot of planning and mind/emotional management. When I had urges to eat Christmas cookies that I had not planned for, my mind said “I want that or I deserve that” and immediately I felt deprived. But then I remembered that
It was my choice to eat foods that fuel my body and not cookies in the moment that will just increase my desire. It took practice and sometimes I failed but I learned from my mistakes instead of just giving up. I had to stay conscious and practice writing down what I would eat ahead of time to avoid the drama in the moment. I also had a mantra that I would repeat in my head “Haven’t you already had enough cookies, candy, pasta, bread for a lifetime?” Of course the answer was yes.
Commit to whatever eating plan you choose, plan for exceptions (holiday parties, family get togethers) and keep your end goal in mind. My goal last year was to lose the weight and continue the eating plan forever so I would not have to make losing weight a goal ever again. Was it hard? Of course it was. But I allowed the discomfort of urges to eat unplanned food instead of giving in. It was easier to do since I planned what I was going to eat and drink but things always come up and our society is so much about food, it is everywhere. That is OK, because I can do hard things and so can you. You have to want to honor your commitments to yourself and desire permanent weight loss more than you want the instant reward.
Don’t get me wrong, I ate pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and cookies at holiday parties but I planned it in advance and made it an exception once a week instead of daily. If I had 3 parties in 1 week, I planned as much as possible and decided when and how much alcohol I would have, when I would have dessert and how much. I worried that people would notice if I did not eat at all or did not eat dessert or drink. What was interesting is that hardly anyone noticed what I ate or drank. It was a little uncomfortable in the moment but it was worth it. I learned I could just be social and enjoy the company and not focus on food. Who knew?
I lost 12 lbs in November and 12 lbs in December 2017 and felt great eating the foods that fueled my body and not feeling hungry all the time.
This year I am maintaining my weight but I am still planning my meals and what I drink 24 hours in advance. You may ask, what about being spontaneous or living in the moment or planning everything takes all the fun out of it. I am the first to say rules are meant to be broken but I don’t feel that way about food. Why? Because it works. I lost 55 lbs in 1 year and am now maintaining. I choose to plan what I eat in advance, it takes very little time and it takes all the thought drama out of eating. I can be spontaneous in other areas of my life.
What will other people think? Who cares and that is not my problem. My job is to worry about what I am thinking and feeling because that is what fuels my actions and creates the results I want.
I remember wondering whether to start another diet or eating plan in October 2017 and considered waiting until after the holidays. But if I had, I probably would have thought of another excuse not to start; and instead I met my goal weight in October 2018. Now I don’t ever need to have weight loss as a New Year’s resolution because I am committed to maintaining this weight forever.
So to review: How to maintain and even lose weight over the Holidays
1. Write down everything you will eat 24 hours in advance (takes very little time)
2. Plan exceptions 24 hours in advance as much as possible
3. Stay conscious. Be aware of your thoughts and what you put in your mouth
4. Allow your feelings instead of eating your negative emotion (notice what where the sensations are in your body)
5. Be curious about your brain when you have urges to eat unplanned food and keep your end goal in mind. Haven’t you already had enough _______ in your lifetime?
What will your weight be 1 year from now?