Part One shared an example of a simple (but reasonable) rule you can set to still enjoy pumpkin pie and coffee and Bailey’s while preventing the number on the scale from skyrocketing over the holidays.
Part Two told of tips and tricks to ramp up or maintain your workouts with some ideas for festive training.
Now, it’s time to fill your toolkit or transform your bestie so you feel like Bat(wo)man is just a flick of a flashlight switch away. Here are the final three super-powerful tips on preventing that holiday scale from creeping up on you.
- Learn to Track your Food, and Track your Weight.
Although it is not exactly as simple as this, weight gain basically happens when we consume more calories than our body is using. The easiest way to find out if we are over-consuming is to track our food and our weight over time. My Fitness Pal, a kitchen scale, and a bathroom scale are like your throwing stars and building-climber-thingies (Ok, I don’t really know what Batman uses…) for holiday nutrition success.
Download an app like MFP, and weigh and measure your food. Weigh yourself every morning. If your weight is going up (and you don’t want to be gaining), you can generally assume you are eating too much (if weight gain has been creeping up on you year after year, if you are eating what My Fitness Pal tells you to and still gaining weight, if your weight is consistently changing faster than 1 lb per week, or if your activity levels are extremely high, please seek professional help).
It’s totally normal to be afraid of the scale, but if you can learn to see it simply as one way to track progress (or like a superhero tool) you will get over that fear (other ways include tracking performance (e.g. how many pushups you can do), taking measurements (e.g. waist circumference), snapping progress pictures, rating your mood daily, rating your energy daily, etc.).
Weighing and measuring food may not seem realistic, or might make you feel like you are not a “normal person”, but like my mom taught me, “Normal is just a setting on a dryer,” and who wants to be normal when you can be like Batman anyway? I know that when I have a weight goal in mind, the best way to hit it and still be able to eat pie is by measuring my food.
Besides, most women tend to be under-consumers anyway.
ALSO, enter your food BEFORE you eat it so you don’t end up surprised. I remember once scarfing down an entire foot-long sub only to enter it afterwards and be bewildered at the number of cards it contained. 6-inches from that day forward. The surprises can be even bigger with baked goods.
One of the best ways to ensure the scale doesn’t move over the holidays is to weigh your food and your body regularly.
- Hire a nutrition coach or have an accountability buddy.
For many of us, we simply cannot sustain willpower when it comes to nutrition unless we have someone constantly on our case.
Have a friend you text at the end of everyday: “Hey, did you stick to your simple rules today?” “Nope, I ate half an apple pie. “
“Haha, omg, you are ridiculous. Are you going to do that again tomorrow?“
“God, I hope not.”
“Ok, lol, just text me when you want to eat a whole pie.”
The next day?
(Pie comes out.) “Hey, the pie is calling me.”
“Have some after 7 PM. That’s what I am doing.”
Hiring a nutrition coach is like having Bat(wo)man as your accountability buddy. He or she will have a toolkit of tips and tricks to teach you to reach your goals while still enjoying food. They can teach you proper macronutrient (carbs, protein, and fat) ratios for your body and your activity level, and teach you about nutrient timing around your workouts. You will learn how you can eat treats and still hit your goals and you will constantly have the support you need. If you are really lucky, she or he might even have a badass car to pick you up in to take you to the grocery store.
Also, what a great Christmas gift?! The gift that keeps on giving as you stomp all over the goals you once said you would “someday” do with the support of your new nutrition coach!
What better time to shake off some extra stress than the most wonderful time of the year? It is actually amazing how much stress can affect our bodies’ abilities to lose or gain weight. One of my clients recently went on vacation and her body shed 6 lbs in the first 4 days (after losing 5 lbs before taking off), likely because she was finally able to relax. Just by chilling out and destressing, your body might shed a few pounds and you won’t need to fear that scale after all!
Here are 5 festive ways to relax (that don’t involve food). All of these reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that causes water retention that can be converted to weight gain if we don’t control it.
- Sleep more. The darkness of shorter days is also good for increasing melatonin levels – the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Black out the windows in your room for even better results.
- Watch a funny Christmas movie. Elf will do.
- Let things get hot and heavy with your lover by the fireplace.
- Have a bath with some candy-cane scented bubble bath (and Epsom salts to give your bod some extra magnesium for muscle recovery).
- Listen to (or sing!) Christmas music. How can you not be happy listening to music that celebrates the most joyful time of year?
- Make or do something for someone else. Thinking of others is one of the best ways to cheer ourselves up, and it is easy to lose ourselves in the process of making things. “Flow” experiences like this are great destressors.
It is possible to eat, drink, and be merry this Christmas season without fearing the scale come the New Year. Set simple rules for yourself, increase or maintain your exercise levels, track your food and weight (unleash your Bat(wo)man toolkit), or create your own Bat(wo)man and Robin duo by finding an accountability buddy or hiring a nutrition coach, and relax. Do these five things and on January 2nd you will be able to step onto the holiday scale with feelings of satisfaction and excitement rather than fear and loathing.
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