Every holiday season do you find yourself pushing your diet and exercise routines aside until the New Year?  Here are some helpful tips that can keep you motivated and focused on a new routine throughout the holiday season and during the rest of the year.

What’s Stopping You?

Identifying the reasons of why you fail to stick to your diet or exercise routine may help you to stay focused.  People commonly say that these reasons include lack of time, boredom, lack of support, and stress. Being able to identify these barriers will help you to come up with practical solutions to avoid them.

Seek Support

people riding bicycles

It is easer to stick with your routine when you have support from the people in your everyday life. Consider sitting down with these people and talking with them about how important it is for you to begin a new routine and to have a healthy lifestyle. Maybe you’d find support by sharing your progress on social media. Others that see your post or tweet may be interested in joining you. Finding a buddy to help you be accountable may give you the motivation to continue your routine. Plus, a little competition never hurt anyone.

Choose a Healthy Plan that Fits your Lifestyle

During the holiday season, having enough time to do everything is a big challenge. Here are some ways to make time when you’re really crunched. In terms of exercise, getting physical activity doesn’t have to be done at the gym. Making small changes like parking further away from your office or walking for 10 minutes during your lunch break will help increase your overall physical activity. Try dancing, cleaning, or biking. For physical activity to be beneficial, all you need is to increase your heart rate. In terms of nutrition, make accessing junk food more inconvenient. Take it off the counter or move the bowl away from your desk in the office. Having fresh fruits and vegetables available to you at home will increase your chances of choosing these as part of your everyday meals and snacks.

Set Reasonable Goals

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Overconsumption is common during the holiday season. Try not to be frustrated with eating or drinking too much and try to find approaches that seem manageable. Rather than setting goals to lose weight, set goals to maintain your weight. Some research indicates that weight gain during the holidays may not be excessive (eg. only 1-2 pounds); however, it tends to stick around to the following year.

Eat Small, Frequent Meals throughout the Day

Do you find yourself saving up all of your calories and eating them at one big meal? Although this may seem like a good idea, it’s important that we eat throughout the day to keep our blood sugar levels fairly even. Skipping meals may lead to short-term weight loss, but unfortunately it’s much easier to gain all of this weight back.  Rather than skipping meals, cut back on portions.  Eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day will help to keep you energized and satisfied.  Use the Super Tracker on USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov  as a great resource with tools and information on how to track and portion your meals.

Drink Water

Water pitcher

Not only does water help to keep us hydrated, it also helps to keep us satisfied. Learning to identify your hunger and fullness cues is important. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! When your stomach is in pain this usually implies that you are hungry or full. Don’t let your environment tell you otherwise. Drinking water throughout the day will help you to curb any cravings. If water is too boring, cut up some lemon or other fresh fruit and add it to your cup.

Track Your Progress

Sometimes we get so caught up in numbers that we forget how far we’ve actually come. Find some time during each week to journal what you ate, what you did for physical activity, and how this made you feel. Super Tracker can help you do this for your food intake. Being able to look back that you went for a short walk and recognizing that it helped to manage your stress will more likely motivate you to continue to go for more walks in the future – maybe even longer ones at a faster pace.

Be Patient!

It takes time to see results. Everyone’s bodies are different and for some changes may happen immediately, while for others it may take a little longer.  Don’t get caught up in ads like “Lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks”, in the long-term this kind of approach will only set you back. Patience is needed and it is important not to feel defeated when you find yourself slipping.

If You Do Get Off Track…

thinking of food

Keep in mind that getting off track is not the end of the world. In general, giving yourself a break will help you to stay on track. Have a plan for when you know will be in situations that may influence you to make unhealthy choices. During these times, set guidelines such as:

  • “I will eat healthy for the most part and allow myself one ‘bad’ choice each day.”
  • “I will make it a point to keep my exercise routine up even if I do not stick with my diet, or vice versa.”
  • “I will start today off healthy and if I find myself getting off track I will pick myself up and make healthier choices for the remainder of the day.”

Follow each day of unhealthy choices with the following day of adherence. Do not get discouraged and keep working on becoming a healthier you!

 

 

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