What is your first thought after reading the title of this blog? “Losing weight over the holidays? Phhh, IMPOSSIBLE!” or maybe, “Sure, at the expense of eating gross food and missing out on everything good about the holidays!” or perhaps, “Why even bother trying, I’ll just count on my diet + exercise resolutions to get in gear once the new year begins, as usual….”
Sound familiar? I know because I used to have ALL of these thoughts. The Holiday Season is basically a time where people inevitably gain weight – it’s simply unavoidable, right? We want to have a good time and celebrate. There are so many special goodies that are just tradition to have. We also have a lot of stress and anxiety pop up this time of year. These things all usually mean eating and drinking are at the forefront of most days between Thanksgiving and New Years.
If you know you tend to show up on the other side of the Holiday Season depressed about how much farther you are from your weight loss goals, hating on yourself for not being able to control your eating and drinking over the last month and wishing there was a way to make it through the holiday stress, celebrate the holiday fun but avoid the holiday weight gain, read on Lady!
Step One: Ditch the old beliefs
The first step to losing weight over the holidays is to identify and then modify the beliefs you have about food, especially as it relates to this time of year. If you are holding onto a story that is holding you back from what you truly desire (in this case, weight loss and better health) then it’s time to re-write it!!
As mentioned above, you might have the current belief that “Losing weight during the month of December is absolutely impossible.” That may feel completely true to you. You might have a lot of evidence from your past that would prove this to be a fact. I’m here to tell you that as real as it might feel, this is actually just something you are telling yourself and it is the number one thing contributing to your holiday weight gain.
Don’t believe me? Last year when I learned to finally change the stories I believed to be true about food and the holidays, I LOST 8 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Year. Prior to last year, I would NEVER have dreamed this was even a possibility. The second that I broke the ingrained belief that “Holiday Season = weight gain,” I was able to shed some lbs. during this time instead of packing them on like I would have in the past.
• Ask: What beliefs do I have about losing weight during the holidays that don’t actually serve me?
• Ask: What could I choose to start believing instead that might serve me better?
Step Two: What does celebrating mean?
The second step is to identify and then modify the thoughts you have about celebration. Many people think emotional eating problems only come about when we eat to try and alleviate negative emotions like sadness or disappointment. However, it’s equally possible to overeat (and over drink) when we want to amp up positive emotions like celebration and joy – commonly found during the countless holiday parties.
I used to have thoughts like, “What is a party if I’m not drinking alcohol? It’s time for toasts and champagne and special holiday cocktails!” Or, “All of these special treats are a fun tradition that only comes around this time of year, I better eat them all so I can pay homage to tradition and the things that are special at Christmastime! So fun!”
Turns out, our sense of celebration and joy is not actually derived from the food we eat or the alcohol we drink, it’s created by the thoughts we have. There does not have to be a direct correlation between these things. You can choose to create and amplify the feelings of joy and celebration through your thoughts, not through overeating or over drinking.
• Ask: What does celebrating truly mean and how can I disassociate it from food and drinks?
• Ask: What thoughts could I have that would bring me more fun and happiness without food or alcohol being part of the equation?
Step Three: Handling holiday stress
While the Holiday Season is intended to solicit the joy and celebration, a lot of stress and anxiety tend to come along with it. For many, the holidays can be a sad and depressing time where a lot of unwanted and tough emotions bubble up to the surface.
The third way you can lose weight over the holidays is to manage your negative emotions through your thinking rather than trying to avoid them through overeating and over drinking.
When a negative emotion like sadness pops up, first ask yourself, “Can I be ok with feeling this feeling and allowing it to pass on it’s own?” We are so frequently taught to hide our feelings from others and put on the happy face, that we’ve begun to believe all negative feelings should immediately be covered up. Problem is, a lot of us tend to do this through food and alcohol which creates our weight problem. So before heading straight for the glass of wine, try sitting with your emotion for a few minutes. When you give it some time, most of our urges to cover up an uncomfortable feeling will pass without us needing to do anything. Remember, it’s ok to feel negative emotions sometimes!
If you decide you are having an emotion that you do want to actively work on getting rid of, let’s say stress, then ask, “What thoughts am I having right now that are making me feel stressed?” Once you identify those thoughts, work on shifting them to a new thought that would make you feel less stressed.
For example, you might be thinking, “OMG I have wayyyy too much to get done, no one is helping me, I’m so annoyed by that and I’m never going to finish this in time!” Those thoughts are obviously going to generate some stressful feelings. Instead, could you start to believe, “There’s always enough time to get the important stuff done.” Or, “I don’t have to feel guilty about asking for some help on this project in order for it to get done. People love to offer their helping hands.”
See if there is a shift of thinking you can make which would take away some of the negative feelings. Now you’ve managed your mind through your thinking instead of through a bag of chips or a bottle of wine which serves you better and helps you create your desired result of weight loss.
• Ask: Can I just sit with this negative emotion and let it pass naturally?
• If not, then ask: What thoughts could I have that would make me feel better without food or alcohol being part of the equation?
Want to know more about Weight Loss Thru Mindset?
Did you notice that none of these weight loss tips had anything to do with working out or counting calories? You can accomplish a LOT just by learning how to shift your mindset around food. This type of work allowed me to lose 55lbs simply + permanently. My own transformation inspired me to become a Life + Mindset + Weight Loss Coach so I can help other women do the same!
If you’d like to know what it’s like to work with me, let’s get on a call where I can tell you more about my Signature Coaching Program: Weight Loss Thru Mindset!
Shoot an email to Laura@LifestyledYou.com and let me know you’d like to book a FREE consult call!
Anna Elle Liz says
Step 3 resonates with me a lot! The holidays can be so stressful and it’s much easier to grab a slice of pie or another piece of turkey rather than deal with the negative emotions you’re experiencing.
Laura Hinton says
Yes, and we usually don’t even realize we are doing it! Bringing awareness to that is everything!!!
Such helpful tips. It’s all about the mindset, isn’t it? For me, redefining celebration and de-stressing are the hardest.
Laura Hinton says
It truly is! I know, the desire to amplify the positive feelings of joy and celebration using food is so sneaky! Using food (or alcohol) to de-stress is so common and definitely tough to work on, but it can be done!
Champaine Abney says
Thank you for these tips! Thanksgiving was a struggle for me and when I went back to the gym it was a struggle. I will definitely kee these tips in mind for Christmas!
Laura Hinton says
Yes!! It’s so easy to get off track during the Holidays! I hope you find these tips helpful over the next couple weeks! Cheering for you!
Always looking for ways to lose weight. You look fabulous.
Laura Hinton says
Thank you Linda! Appreciate it 🙂 Mindset work was the key that finally worked for me!
I love these tips! I have also learned that what you tell yourself becomes your reality! The mind is a powerful weapon and the tongue can speak life or death into your situation and others! Once we commit mentally to something we can totally do it!!!
Laura Hinton says
Thanks! Yes, it is so true. Our thoughts are the key to how we feel and how we take action, and therefore the results we have in our life!
Those are some great tips. I always end up gaining weight during the holidays so I need to do better!
Laura Hinton says
It’s so easy for it to happen. Paying attention to your mindset and your thoughts about food + holidays will help keep that from happening!