Let’s Talk About the Elephant in the Room

File this under:  How Not to Gain Weight During the Holidays

CaptureI’m writing this on November 7th – which is a really special day as it the day my first son was born.  But it is also a day that, for me, has always marked that time of year when an elephant is about to enter the room AND, if I don’t pay attention and make plan, there’s a good chance I’m going to get trampled.

The elephant in the room is the holiday season.

If you’re reading this it’s because you’re either on the path to attaining a healthy weight and level of fitness – or you’re looking to sustain the same.  Unfortunately “Tis the Season” isn’t just about being jolly.  It is a season that brings a very special set of circumstances that should not be ignored.

The circumstances are all too familiar:

  • Too much food
  • Too little time
  • Too much stress

It’s essentially a given that you will have less control over your exposure to food.  Those cookies and candies are going to start coming into the office real soon.  There will be pot lucks and parties galore.  Time to get everything done will be even scarcer than it already is as you add all the things you need to accomplish during the holidays.  Which totally stresses you out.

Recently we all “fell back” when we readjusted to daylight savings time – it’s important that we don’t fall back into old habits that don’t support attaining and sustaining a healthy weight and level of fitness during the holidays.  But we will if we ignore the elephant in the living room.

How to Avoid Getting Trampled

Here are a few things I’ve done over the years to get me through the season.

Make the Decision.  It you’re actively in the process of losing weight first and foremost you’ve got a decision to make – do you want to continue losing weight during the holidays, or does it make more sense to you to maintain your weight?  This is a big decision – and one that requires you to be very honest with yourself.

Revisit Your Meaningful Why.  If you don’t know what that is take a few minutes and read my Home, About (where you will find the Meaning Why discovery process), and What is FP? pages (should take about 15 minutes.)  Make sure that your meaningful why can stand its ground during the holidays.  You may even want to create a meaningful why specific to your quest to either continue to attain or sustain during the holidays (which is the reason it is so important you make a decision.)

Set a Minimum.  I wrote a post that deals with setting a minimum (read it here) but I have learned the hard way to always set minimums instead of maximums.  Here’s a really quick way to understand the difference:  Normally my goal is to spend 90 minutes a day being active (which for me is walking, stationary bike while watching Jeopardy, and light weights.)  However, my MINIMUM is 20 minutes.  I may not always have 90 minutes in my day to be active, but I always have 20.  You can also set a minimum with your food plan.

Learn a few Tricks of the Trade.  I’ll be posting (and re-posting) what I call “Tricks of the Trade” periodically during the holidays.

For instance when attending parties or meals with family or friends that you just KNOW are going to be VERY insistent in their quest that you eat more be sure to bring a few food containers with you.  That way when Auntie Mame wants you to eat a piece of pie you can fain you would love to, but are “just too full” – but you’d love to bring some home with you so you can eat it later.  As a matter-of-fact, you brought some containers with you just for that purpose 🙂  Once those containers are in your possession it is up to you as to whether or not you will, in fact, eat them – or toss them.  “Yes, Virginia, it is OK to throw food away!”

The point here is that you will have much more success if you invite the elephant into the room during the holidays than close your eyes and pretend it isn’t there.   

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