A couple of months left before the holiday season and it’s time to prepare yourself for the festivities and possible family gatherings and trips.Based on years of experience with my clients, those who usually start managing their lifestyle at least a couple of months before the holiday season are more successful in controlling their weight and can easily resume their usual exercise and eating routine right after the holiday season.
Realistically, what do you want to achieve in terms of health and fitness in the next couple of months? What major lifestyle changes in terms of eating, exercise, and recovery can you do to jumpstart or continue your fitness and/or weight loss journey?
Aside from genes, emotions, stress, and hormones, your family and closest friends can create the greatest impact on your eating, exercise, and weight. Your loved ones can express positive emotions through celebrations and food gifts. How can you still give back the love and show your appreciation, while staying on track with your health goals?
Eating at home with your family
The scenario: You are trying so hard to stick to your weight loss goals, but your loving husband still keeps on surprising you with your favorite food.
There are so many desserts available at home on most days of the week because your daughter loves to bake cupcakes and cookies.
Your son always requests for you to order family-style pizza and fried chicken online so you can all bond as a family, eating while watching a Netflix movie.
Communicate with your whole family about your health goals and motivation. Consider telling them about your intention to be at your fittest so you can live each day fully, while having more energy, so you can take care of the whole family.
You can become their role model so you can influence them to embrace a healthy lifestyle as well. Discuss specific situations that can sabotage your goals like, keeping desserts and chips at home and eating high-calorie foods while watching television. Offer alternative healthy solutions to maintain close family bonding like exercising together or exploring new ways on how to prepare delicious and healthy foods.
Socializing with friends
The scenario: Your friends ask you to treat yourself to your favorite food that you’ve been missing a lot like lechon, crispy pata, halo-halo, etc.
Your friends offer you extra servings of alcohol to enjoy the rest of the night with them since you don’t see each other that often anymore since the start of the pandemic.
Your friend shows her concern by telling you that you should take a break from exercising and eating healthy.
Always prepare yourself by eating the right amount of food before any social gathering.You can have a piece of multi-grain bread with nut butter or fruits and a handful of nuts and seeds as your snack before your socials. You can plan ahead and check the restaurant menu online so you are more conditioned to order healthier food meals when dining out with friends.You can always practice portion control by having a small bite of high-calorie foods that you miss and eat bigger servings of vegetables and low-fat and lean protein.
Prepare to inform your friends about your current health goals and how you want them to be a part of your support group for your journey. Assert yourself and learn when to stop and how to say NO. But you can always encourage your friends to join you with your journey and ask them to be your wellness accountability partners.
The scenario: It has been a part of the family tradition to have a weekly family gathering at your parent’s house where they serve buffet-style meals.
A family gathering can last the whole day, so aside from the main meals, you might be offered to drink wine, eat cheeses and cold cuts or try the new desserts brought by your sister.
Your mom keeps on telling you that you are getting too skinny and you should stop controlling your food and weight.
You can always bring your healthy and delicious home-cooked meals like baked salmon, mixed vegetables, fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, or sugar-free desserts. Availability of healthy foods during gatherings can always remind you to stay on track by being aware of the right food quality. Then eat only the food that you really want, while still applying portion control even with buffet-style meals, like putting small servings on one plate.
Eat in moderation. Get only the food that you really want and worth the calories, while experiencing real satisfaction and fullness, so you can avoid going back for seconds. During family conversations, open up on how you started to stay fit and healthy again this pandemic and share tips and stories about your journey so you can encourage your family to embrace a healthier lifestyle.