Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holiday Strategies

Holiday Strategy? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Hanukkah? New Years? The time of year has come, and the "Holiday Season" has arrived! What is your strategy? Do you have one? I would recommend putting a little thought and time into one because it's been my experience in my own life that when I DON'T do this, I drift. Let me rephrase that. When I DON'T have a Holiday Strategy, I drift UP. Sometimes UP and UP, depending on the severity of the Holiday season (LOL). This is actually my favorite time of year, and it is also my favorite FOOD time of the year because of all of the memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases past.

So, there are a few strategies I can give as far as your health journey is concerned. None of them are GOOD or BAD, but ALL of them are a CHOICE based on what you have said you want to accomplish with your health.

1) The "what holiday?" route:
With this strategy, you continue to take each day as it comes, you continue on your eating plan food-and-drink-wise as if there were NO Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Eve, Hanukkah Festivities, Open House or New Year's Eve. You still attend all of these events, but you are content to remain on your program, eating Turkey, green beans and salad for Thanksgiving, Prime Rib or Roast Beef, green beans and salad for Christmas Eve, toasting New Year's Eve in with a sugar-free Hansens natural Creme Soda or Ginger Ale, and waking up on January 1st around 12-15 (or more) pounds lighter than you are today. You shopped around for a beautiful dress or tailored suit for the occasions (because nothing in your closet fits anymore), and the one you bought for Thanksgiving you will actually need to take in a little bit for the New Year's Eve Party. You enjoyed the season, the people, the spirit of the holidays, and you have zero regrets. You were actually able to choose a DIFFERENT New Year's "Resolution" this year besides "I will lose weight" because you already are well on your way to THAT goal and don't need to "start fresh, mentally".

2) The "Free-for-All" route:
With this strategy, you start celebrating with food TODAY, in anticipation of the holidays. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly, and you don't want any encumbrances placed on your eating and drinking decisions. Food has a very special and sentimental place in your heart, and no matter what your health goals, you are not going to miss the fun of food. You have no plans to have an "on-track" day from now until January 1st, and you have contented yourself with the fact that sure, you might gain some weight, you're hoping to "maintain" but on January 1st upon reflection you realize that "Hope was not a strategy" and you are now in the next size up jeans or dresses than you were on November 15th. Your New Year's Resolution is still "I will lose weight, starting TODAY!" and you wait until 12:01 January 1st to make that resolution, just like past years. ON Jan 1st, you wake up to the thoughts that feel suspiciously like regret, which is a very familiar feeling to you, and also surprisingly more disheartening than you thought it would be. You wonder "can I really do this?" Hopefully you decide that you can, you let bygones by bygones and get right back on track. There is a possibility, however, that you've lost some of your momentum and your hope that you can actually have the healthy life you want, and you may not decide to get back on plan. Therein lies the risk of this strategy.

3) The "Special-Occasion-Only" route:
With this strategy, you ascertain that out of the next 276 meals/fuelings from now until January 1st only 3 or 4 of them will truly be the "Holiday Meals" you make a firm decision that on January 1st, you'd like to be at least 10 pounds or more lighter than you are today, and you commit to having some "off-plan" items at those meals only. You make a rule that you won't eat any cookies or treats EXCEPT at those festivities, and you won't go back for seconds DURING those festivities. Unbeknownst to you at present, you will have just stepped in to what I call "normal eating". After all, it isn't that small sliver of pumpkin pie or bit of stuffing with gravy that makes people unhealthy/overweight, and you get right back on track after each one of those holiday meals. You wake up on January 1st having met your goal, and feeling GREAT!

So, what if you don't decide to choose ANY of these options? What I have found is that if you don't make a choice and a plan you will likely simply default to option 2.

What will it be this Holiday Season? Will you be in control of your Holiday food? Or, will it be in control of you?

Rinse and Repeat!