Is It OK To Expect To Gain Weight Over The Holidays?

christmastreemuffin_5171273235Hey, it’s the holidays. Why not loosen up? Enjoy! What’s a few pounds? You’ll lose them after New Year’s. While it may be the accepted norm to expect weight gain over the holidays and tempting to dismiss a little weight gain in favor of enjoying holiday treats it’s probably not the best approach.

You see, when you set an expectation about your outcome, the expectation is often met. This is also known  as self-fulfilling prophecy! If you expect to gain weight then you probably will. That’s a starting point that already has you in a losing position. Especially since, statistically speaking, you probably won’t lose the weight when the holidays are over.

Here’s how it goes… Let’s say you decide that it’s OK to gain 2 – 3 pounds. That seems reasonable. Except that once you open the door for acceptable weight gain it’s hard to keep control of it. It’s an incredibly difficult balancing act. Even more so when the willpower and judgement undermining effect of alcohol is part of the equation.

And  here’s something to consider… too much slacking on your fitness and healthy eating at this extra busy, extra stressful, sometimes extra EMOTIONAL time of year is a huge mistake. When you skip out on your fitness plan you feel like crap. You need your workouts and good nutrition to anchor you, to help melt the stress, to keep your energy up, and to keep you in a better mood.

Making the commitment not to gain weight over the holidays may seem too restrictive, but there is a solution. Create a plan that makes room for a few special indulgences. Decide in advance what you will allow and what you won’t and stick to it. If the decisions are made ahead of time then you won’t have to try and find your will power in the moments when the temptations are the strongest. You’ll already know, that yes you can have one of those cookies and no you can’t have a third cocktail!

Your plan should include the indulgences you will and will not allow as well as planning all your healthy meals and your workout schedule.

The meal plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Just decide ahead of time what you’re going to have for meals and snacks each week and write out a grocery list. If you’re really good might even carve out a couple of hours on the weekend to make some things ahead. Eating basically the same all week will keep it simple and save you money. When the week is up, switch out any meals or snacks you’re bored with to keep your healthy diet appealing.

Planning workouts can be super easy. If you want it done for you, get your hands on P90X3 or T25. Those programs have you covered with workouts that last only 25 to 30 minutes. If you want to DIY, no problem. Just choose your workouts ahead of time. Know, for example, that you’re going to the gym for your favorite class on Monday, doing a DVD workout at home on Tuesday, meeting a friend for a run on Wednesday and so on.

Once the holidays are over you may find that you did gain a pound or two. That’s OK. I promise it’s less than you would have gained if you set the expectation up front to gain weight. Because you’ve maintained good habits you have a much better chance of shedding those pounds once life goes back to normal.

photo credit: Creative Abubot via photopin cc


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