It’s the holiday season once again, and while most people are enjoying this time of year, it can be an extremely challenging time for those trying to watch their weight.
After all, food is in abundance at holiday parties, Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Eve gatherings.
Dieting is not a complex equation. Simply speaking, less food plus more physical activity equals weight loss. Don’t get me wrong: dieting is not easy, but the premise is simple.
During this crazy time of year, when so many people have so many things going on, this is definitely not the time to make it more complicated than it needs to be.
The best advice: keep it simple.
Here are 13 easy to follow strategies that will help keep you on the road to weight loss and better health this holiday season.
How To Be Healthy This Holiday
1. Stop cheating
You wouldn’t cheat on your spouse in a committed relationship, so why would you cheat on something as important as your diet and health? Sounds harsh, but if you’re going to get fit, it’s all or nothing, even during the holidays.
2. Expect challenges
You know cravings and other challenges are going to come up, so don’t let them catch you off-guard. Have a plan in place to push forward when this happens so you stick to your diet.
3. Take responsibility
Realize that ultimately, being fit and healthy is completely your responsibility, and blaming the holidays for your weight gain is just as bad as blaming other outside factors the rest of the year, such as restaurants, food manufacturers, and portion sizes.
4. Don’t eat for pleasure
Find happiness in the holidays not from food, but in time spent with friends and family creating a lifetime of memories and new traditions. Begin to see eating only as a means to increase health, energy, and vitality—not as entertainment.
Related: 5 Ways To Avoid Overeating
5. Remember your ‘why’
Most people fail because they forget their reason for wanting to lose weight.
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to create a vision board filled with pictures of lean, fit, sexy people. Hang it in a very visible location. Daily exposure to the vision board will reinforce your health goals.
6. Just say no
There’s plenty of peer pressure during the holidays to try your mother’s homemade apple pie or best friend’s mashed potatoes. Just say ‘no’ and stop worrying about what others think about you. If they truly care about you, they’ll understand that your diet is important to you.
7. Ask the question
Before you put anything in your mouth, always ask yourself, “How is this food going to impact my health?” Think long and hard about your answer and the potential consequences that will come.
Related: How To Develop Mental Toughness
8. Don’t associate dieting with drudgery
If you’re on a diet during the holidays, don’t look at dieting as drudgery, but as a strategy for a lifetime to keep you healthy, looking good, and feeling great.
9. Don’t let yourself start over
It’s not okay to start over again on Monday or after the holidays. It’s a common psychological trap with the core belief being, “I can eat the same and get different results.” Starting over on Monday is an endless loop that keeps people fat forever.
10. Don’t be ashamed to let people know you’re dieting
Most people won’t admit they’re dieting at the holidays because they don’t trust themselves enough to put their word on the line.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Diets Fail
Telling everyone you know creates additional pressure and motivation to propel forward when the going gets tough. It’s the tactically intelligent thing to do.
11. Make exercise a priority at the holidays
The holiday season is a busy time for many, but that’s no excuse to forget about exercise when you’re dieting.
You don’t have to become a gym rat or bodybuilder, but regular, low-impact, moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, or weight training will make a huge difference in the weight loss process. Plus, it will help relieve holiday stress and make you feel better overall.
12. Eat for the future
Winners always find a way to victory, and it lies in delayed gratification. Everything you eat falls into two categories: instant pleasure or delayed gratification.
Remind yourself during those big holiday meals that every meal is an investment in yourself. Secure your future, or you divert your physiological portfolio and remain overweight.
Related: 5 Ways To Take Charge Of Your Future
13. Build a support team
They say consciousness is contagious, and that’s why it’s a good idea to surround yourself with a team of supporters who will help you win the battle.
This is especially important during the holidays, when so much bad food is in abundance. The added energy and team-like feeling will help propel you through the weight loss process.
Remember, during the holidays when food is everywhere, pick a few strategies from this list to keep you motivated and compliant to your weight loss goals. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: losing weight during the holiday season can be accomplished with a little mental toughness.
Steve Siebold is a former professional athlete and mental toughness coach to Fortune 500 companies, athletes, entrepreneurs and other super achievers. He is author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class, Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People, and Fat Loser! Mental Toughness Training for Dieters.
Photo by *Evelina*