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How To Enjoy The Holidays Without Weight Gain

Written by: Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

If you’re looking for a special pill to help you lose weight this holiday season, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t exist. You’ve probably heard stories of individuals losing 30+ pounds in a month by taking special supplements. They’re all fabricated stories. If there was a magic formula, we would all be at our happy weight. However, you can still enjoy the holidays, including your favorite foods and beverages, without gaining weight. You can even lose weight. And no, I’m not sipping too much eggnog.

Close up photo of cheerful fellows in formal wear sit around table enjoying their meals.

The first step is deciding if you want to lose weight or maintain your weight this December. This will determine the type of choices you’ll make.


The next step is to develop a strategy for holiday celebrations. Determine how many celebrations you’ll have between now and January second. Plan what you’ll eat ahead of time. If you don’t know what is being served, have a healthy snack with high-calories prior to the event so you don’t go hungry. Bring a healthy dish to parties. Focus on your non-negotiables, those favorite foods you only have during this time of the year. Plan for a manageable portion and forgo other high calorie foods that are not as desirable or you can eat anytime of the year. Drink a glass of water between cocktails. This will slow down your consumption and fill you up.


Having the right mindset is imperative. Tough love and deprivation do not work. Both are demotivating. If you over-indulge, tell yourself it’s okay, you’re human, and move on. Don’t wait until the next day to make healthy choices. Start with your next meal.


Stress can sabotage mindset. When we’re stressed, our bodies go into an overproduction of cortisol that can cause weight gain and increase our desire for high-fat, high-calorie food. We often crave comfort food. This behavior can make us feel like a failure, causing a barrage of negative mind chatter that triggers us to emotionally eat. Practicing mindfulness can help us be present and aware of unhelpful thoughts, without judgement, so we can more easily shift to a positive perspective and make better choices.


Mental fitness is an excellent way to manage negative thought patterns by being present. Micro-meditations involving our senses, can shift the focus from the left, analytical brain where all our negative emotions originate, to the positive right brain where peace, calm, and clear headed focus reside. You can do this by focusing on something you see, noticing tiny details including textures, shapes, and colors. Looking at the person, object, or your surroundings with such attention that it’s as if you’re seeing them for the first time. You can also rub two fingers together, paying close attention to how your fingertip ridges feel, if your fingers are dry or smooth, and the temperature of your fingertips.


Other mindfulness techniques include:


B R E AT H E


Find a quiet, comfortable space to clear your mind. Focus on the breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale slowly from your mouth. Notice how your diaphragm expands and contracts with each breath. If you find your mind wandering, gently redirect your focus to the breath. Continue for five minutes.


V I S U A L I Z AT I O N


Use your imagination for a brief escape. Find a comfortable space to relax. Close your eyes. Engage your senses. Now, imagine you’re taking a walk, you pick a location. Focus on what you see, notice the light and how it illuminates your surroundings. Turn your attention to the sounds you would hear on your walk. Do you hear birds chirping, a stream skipping over the rocks, or an airplane flying overhead? Next, notice the scents around you — it may be a campfire, the salt of the ocean, or the aroma of a BBQ grill. How do you physically feel? Are you walking on a sidewalk, on a woodland path, or on a rocky beach? Can you feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your skin? Are you relaxed?


M U S I C


Listen to calming music. Gentle instrumental music of almost any genre is soothing and you can also find tonal music that is created to increase dopamine and serotonin levels to lift your mood.


G U I D E D M E D I TAT I O N


Listen to a meditation app such as Calm, Headspace, Simple Habit, or Ten Percent Happier. Many health apps and coaches offer guided meditations online and you can listen anywhere.


P R A C T I C E YO G A


Yoga is not just for the physically fit. Everyone who has a yoga practice started with not knowing the forms and feeling unbalanced. Yoga classes are offered for all levels and are a great way to increase your awareness while creating stability and strength.


TA K E C O N T R O L


When you have an important task or project to complete, maintain your focus by eliminating distractions. Turn off your phone or put it in another room, silence notifications on your computer, or disconnect from all electronic devices entirely.


The last step in losing or maintaining weight this holiday season is to find ways to be active and move more throughout the day. Consider ways you can add steps to what you’re already doing. Here are some ideas:

  • Park farther away

  • Take the stairs

  • Make multiple trips to carry packages and groceries

  • Pace while talking on the phone

  • Use a standing desk for work

  • Wrap packages while standing

  • Holiday shopping

  • Stand at holiday gatherings

In summation, moderation, mindfulness, and movement will help you navigate the holidays successfully. To learn more about how you can create positive change in the New Year, check out my book, From Burnout to Best Life.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Hammett is a leader in health and wellness, stress management, and goal setting. After a 26-year career in the corporate retailing world, which left her stressed, burned out, and at her heaviest weight, she left the industry for a successful 16-year career in direct selling. During this time she developed her love of coaching. She also started her health and wellness journey, losing 65 pounds, and has kept it off for 11 years. After losing the weight, she became a health coach, for a global wellness company, and has been coaching members for the past 11 years, to achieve their weight loss goals. In May of 2020, she launched her Success Coaching practice, to help individuals who were struggling with anxiety, depression, and weight gain due to the pandemic. Her business has since expanded to life coaching. Client success stories include weight loss, improved health, stress reduction, creating a balanced life, development of sustainable healthy habits (mind and body), development of a laser-focused Vision for goal achievement, building strong confidence, improved relationships, and business success.

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