I’m a health coach and yet the truth is the holidays still have the power to rattle the cage of my healthy routines.

Between Thanksgiving and New Years there’s a lot to celebrate which is lovely, yet potentially exhausting and stressful making holiday weight gain (almost) inevitable.

Here’s why….

The Holidays: A Recipe for Weight Gain

I’m sure you know the drill – lines, spending, festive sweets, high emotions, expectations…The classic holiday frenzy.

And then, there’s that moment of truth…the stare down from the dessert table or the temptation of just one more holiday cocktail because good God are they delightful.

So the question is, in this age-old face-off between immediate gratification and feeling fabulous on New Year’s Day, who wins?

Well, evidence suggests that immediate gratification has been winning. By far. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the average American can expect to gain anywhere from one to five pounds, weight that is often never shed and instead accumulates year after year.

And, this annual weight gain is thought to be one of the primary causes of adult obesity.

So how exactly can you break this cycle and outsmart that stare down from the dessert table?

If you’d rather feel sexy versus sluggish on Jan 1 then you must have a Holiday Game Plan in place before you grab your eggnog and get swept up into celebration.

xmas dessert

5 Steps to Getting Your Holiday Game Plan in Place –

1. Get Clear on Why – Despite your best intentions, your actions aren’t going to change for squat unless they are connected with a Big Why. You need to get curious and get clear if you want this year to be different.
– Why is it so important that you avoid weight gain during this holiday season?
– What is so compelling that you’d be willing to give up (or lovingly limit) your favorite holiday treats?
– What pain will you feel if you gain weight this holiday season? Is it worth it?

2. Visualize – Lean into that imagination of yours and sketch out exactly how you want to feel on New Year’s Day.
– How do you want to feel in your body? Your mind? Your skinny jeans? Naked?

3. Write the Rules – It’s your Holiday Game Plan so you define the rules. The rules can be as flexible or rigid as you like, just as long as they are practical.
– What are the rules you plan to follow?
– Will certain food/drink be “off limits”? If so, which?
– What is your plan for exercise this month?
– How will you make sure you get enough sleep?
– What are your priorities and will you decline certain events to honor the things that matter most?
– How will you give yourself a “time out” when you feel fatigue setting in?

4. Indulge – Enjoy the holidays. Indulge in the love and the connection. Take walks to see the lights. Feel the cool air on your face and strike a yoga pose in the snow. And, when you feel the holiday hecticness nipping at your heels delight in the pleasure of an early night’s sleep (you will thank yourself the next day!).

5. Get Support – The support part is critical. We know that information alone does not equal transformation. The real equation is: Information+Support+Accountability=Transformation.
– Who are your allies? Who can you call or reach out to when you feel yourself getting off track?
– What systems of support do you have in place? What additional support may be needed?

Yes, this time of year it’s a wild ride trying to stay on track with health goals.

So, how about doing things differently this year?

Between now and the New Year make each day count by getting your Holiday Game Plan in place.

Make the plan detailed. Get it in pen. Post it on the fridge.

This year, when the chocolate ganache is sweet-talking you your best defenses will already be in place.

In good health,

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