Lots of advice on managing your weight over the holidays includes the reminder that the holiday is “just one day.” I know I’ve said that here myself and to some extent it is true. Those worth-it, once-a-year indulgences should be kept to just one day, but that doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving is the only day that’s going to include challenges.
- Family stress (that one isn’t just me, right?)
All of those work together to make the whole holiday weekend a minefield.
What am I going do to manage the whole weekend without feeling like I’m either over-restricting or going off the deep end?
- Exercise every day: This is going to serve a lot of purposes. It buffers some of our indulgent choices, calorie-wise. For me, starting my day with exercise gets me in the right mindset to make healthy choices throughout the day because it reminds me that I’m a healthy person now. Most importantly, for me anyway, it gets me out of the chaos of family holiday time for a while and serves as a huge stress reliever.
- Choose one indulgence each day, just keep it small: There are going to be treats and temptations beyond just Thanksgiving day itself. Telling yourself you can choose one helps avoid that feeling that you must restrict it all, but gives you a limit. I’m looking forward to a peppermint mocha when I’m out shopping (if I can find one dairy free!) as one of my indulgences. 🙂
- Make a healthy food plan for the whole weekend, not just Thursday: The extra special Thanksgiving trick for this is making sure whatever healthy food options I want to have available for myself need to be largely non-refrigerated, because we all know fridge space is at a premium on Thanksgiving! Having a healthy breakfast gets me started on the right foot and gives me the mental boost of knowing that I’ve tackled one of three meals for the day successfully. 🙂 I’ll be bringing my handy oatmeal and PB2 packets, so I can make a quick and healthy breakfast instead of succumbing to my mom’s eggs/bacon/pancakes in amounts fit for an army of football players! I’ll also pick up some veggies with hummus and greek yogurt with ranch dressing mix. Greek yogurt can serve double duty as a breakfast with fruit as well. I’ll get some counter-stable fruit like apples, pears and bananas as well.
- Bring a water bottle and fill it often! I tend to drink way too much soda when I travel, so I’ll be keeping my water bottle close at hand and refill it often. If we’re being totally honest, I’m also bringing a bottle of red wine with a promise to myself that I can have a glass every evening to unwind after a day full of stuff. 🙂 That’s good for you too, right? So long as it stays at just one glass . . .
- Get back to normal as soon as Monday hits – but maybe stay off the scale . . . Last year, I was “good” and stayed on plan all through Thanksgiving. Despite that, my weight was up a few pounds when I got home and I confess it left me in a funk about “what is the point of all of this” and likely contributed to my plan to give up WW by the end of December (although it certainly wasn’t all of that decision). The reality is, your weight when you first get back from traveling probably isn’t real. There’s water retention from the car/plane time and the increased salt in the foods you’re eating while you travel. There’s the effect of stress and lack of sleep. There’s just the crazy possession that happens to the scale. Whatever causes it, know that you shouldn’t take weigh ins in the first week post-travel too seriously. When we got back from Disney this weekend, I weighed 189+ lbs on Sunday morning. I was NOT pleased by that. I’m already down to 183. Have I lost 6 pounds just from tracking calories over the last three days? Of course not – not really. Most of those 6 pounds were just water weight that’s now gone its merry way. I’m glad I didn’t let seeing that number on the scale Sunday morning make me give up until the holidays were over, even though that temptation was there.
Yes, I made a graph in Excel this morning just to illustrate this point. I’m a data person. And more than a bit of a nerd. 🙂
If you need moral support through the holidays, seek me out. I assure you I’ll be on Facebook and Instagram and everywhere else as a distraction from the stress of it all (I promise I love my family, but you know how family gatherings can be). I’ll be keeping up my #thankful project on Instagram to remind myself of what’s really important amidst all the hustle and bustle. What’s your biggest struggle with the Thanksgiving holiday season? Or if you’re someone who sails smoothly through – what’s your secret?