Weight loss, or even weight management, during the holiday season can feel nearly impossible with all the festive dinners, special events, and extra obligations. However, a little pre-planning to uncover what you need in order to achieve your goals no matter the obstacles can go a long way! So just like Santa has a list, below is a checklist to help you to stay motivated and focused on your weight goals this busy holiday season.
The "I'm Motivated and Focused" Checklist
Determine WHY you want to lose or maintain weight this time of year. Make sure motivation is driven from within for long-term success. Intrinsic motivation is different from extrinsic.
Have realistic expectations. A moderate weight loss of 5-10% of a starting body weight can have a large impact on your health. Remember though, the day-to-day routines during the holidays can be different than other times of the year.
Focus on process goals (action steps). Focusing on an outcome goal can lead to disappointment and decrease motivation. Instead, try setting daily, weekly, or monthly SMART goals to stay focused on what you really want.
Find social support. Consider joining a support group to have accountability partners for your workouts or meal planning.
Make a commitment. Write down your goal, or share it with someone that will check in to see how you are doing.
Think and talk positively. Mentally contrast (life at a new weight) versus mentally indulge (fantasizing a dream weight). When you think as if you are in the place you want to be, it makes it even easier to make it happen.
Plan for challenges. Coping skills do not mean eating more out of stress or watching tv to unwind. Knowing what to do when you hit a roadblock will help you adapt as life happens.
Remember the 80/20 rule. Allow yourself some flexibility, but aim for healthy habit choices 80% of the time with a splurge or a little life 20% of the time.
Pick a plan that fits your lifestyle. Strategizing and planning in advance can take the guesswork out of the required steps to maintain or lose weight right now. This is a good general rule of thumb year round.
Celebrate successes. Consider rewarding yourself in a healthful way to further boost your motivation. For example, if you had a stressful day, reward yourself with a walk in nature to unwind from a stressful day.
Find a role model. Find someone who you can easily relate to for inspiration. Ask how does he or she make it happen this time of year?
Find an exercise you enjoy. Do you prefer to be inside or outside? Would you rather find a gym or stay in the comfort of your own home? Doing activities you love increases your likelihood of making movement happen more consistently.
Use your pet. Pets often require exercise, play and some extra attention, which can encourage physical activity for your weight loss journey. Pets can also help you maintain a walking/running routine and are good accountability partners too!
Get professional help when needed. Remember, we are always here to support you when you’re ready!
Love and appreciate your body type. Look in the mirror and say the things you like about yourself. Positive self-talk helps you focus on the journey rather than the destination.
Keep a journal. People who track their food are more likely to lose and maintain weight loss. You can track on paper or use a website or app as a tool for tracking. LEARN MORE
Some information adapted from HEALTHLINE