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Focus on Maintaining Weight (and Behaviors) During the Holidays

A Hilton Head Health guest recently told me that she starts each day intending to do a little better/more (re: eating and exercise) than she did the day before.  I love that approach with its emphasis on progress, not perfection.  As I thought about it, I realized that doing more/better than you did the day before may not always be possible, especially during busy, high-stress times such as the holidays.  If you walked for 45 minutes on Sunday, you may not be able to walk more than 45 minutes on Monday if you worked all day and attended a holiday concert and reception that evening. 

To avoid feeling like a failure if you don’t do more than you did the day before, set more realistic goals during the holidays.  Focus on doing something every day (or most days), so that you continue working toward your healthy eating and physical activity goals.  During the holidays, maintaining your weight is probably more realistic than losing weight.  Identifying a “trigger weight” may help you maintain your weight.  Weigh yourself today and then add 3-5 lbs. to that weight.  For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, your trigger weight would be 203 or 205 lbs.  When you reach this trigger weight, you will know it’s time to take action to reverse your weight gain. 

Similarly, maintaining your healthy eating and exercise behaviors during the holidays is probably more realistic than changing them drastically.  Of course, exceeding your goal when you can is terrific.  If your goal is to walk 4 times per week, walking 5 times per week is even better.  Meeting or exceeding your realistic goal is much better than setting your goal too high and feeling like a failure if you don’t quite reach it.    

For the rest of this year, set goals for your eating and physical activity that you are 90% confident you can meet.  If you can exceed your goal, bring it on!!

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