Surviving the Holiday Weekend!
The Memorial Day holiday weekend has recently passed and for some people that meant an extra day or two off from work, and spending time with family members. However, for others, it meant an internal struggle to stay consistent with their routine and lifestyle changes. The barbecues, parties, expansive family gatherings, and any other events that centered around food probably presented enormous pressure for people who wanted to stick to their goals.
If you were one of those people who fell prey to the nice, warm weather, and various amounts of food…you are not alone. Sometimes it takes a few derailments before specific weight loss goals can be reached, but it sure would be nice if all it took was a decision to do it, and then it’d get done. Overall, it’s not that easy. Therefore, below are a few tips that could help you avoid the insatiable holiday traps.
First: Don’t Let the Holiday Overwhelm You / Set Realistic Holiday Goals. Learning which foods promote your weight loss goals and are good for your body is great. It’s also a good idea to learn which foods can pack on your pounds quickly. However, I wouldn’t suggest allowing your weight loss goals to completely overshadow your ability to have fun during the holidays. Feeling of enclosure and being overwhelmed, especially during a holiday weekend, can cause you to start resenting your weight loss goals, rather than viewing your weight loss as a life and body enhancement.
While it’s great to weigh yourself to see where you are in your journey, I wouldn’t suggest stepping on the scale the Friday before a holiday weekend. Why? The Friday before the holiday weekend is when you’re excited. All of those plans to do everything or do nothing are all on your mind, and the last thing you need is to be worried about the fact that you weigh one or two pounds higher than you thought. This will cause you to have unrealistic expectations for the holiday and when you can’t meet those expectations, come Monday or Tuesday after your awesome holiday weekend is over, the reality of your terrible decisions made over the holiday will set in and guess what…that’ll be the start to your declining motivation. This is what you want to avoid.
Second: Stay Home. Making the decision to stay home during a holiday weekend could seem rather lame or boring to some, but if you’ve decided to stay firmly true to your weight loss goal, you may want to avoid any potential temptations. Staying home could save lots of money, time, and help keep you on track with your goals. This tip is especially handy if you’ve just started out on your weight loss journey.
While staying home during a holiday weekend can help save tons of money, it wouldn’t be of any help if you are ordering takeout during your days off. That would sorely defeat the purpose of you deciding to stay home and away from temptations. It would also defeat the purpose of your diet. Therefore, when staying home during a holiday weekend, you should be sure to have a routine in place. If you normally would workout at home or in the gym at 8 am, keep to that schedule for the entire weekend. The times when you’d eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner should stay the same as well. The point here is to stay on schedule as if these were normal days and not a holiday.
Third: Be the Host Instead of the Guest. If the decision is made to spend your holiday weekend at home and you find that yes you have your routine in place but still want interaction with people, invite some people over. This option seems extremely helpful because it provides you the ability to control the menu. Yes, this tip is all about control. Sometimes people, especially though early in their weight loss journey, find it hard to stick to their goals when they aren’t in control of what’s being cooked or served. It’s the pressure of eating like everyone else and being polite at the table, or not wanting to be seen as the difficult eater.
Let me give an example because I’m sure we’ve all been in this position at one point in our lives. You and three friends decide to have dinner one night. You’ve recently decided that your health is important and should be a priority, but you also love being around your friends and dinner is a plus. The four of you pick a nice, comfortable restaurant to sit back and relax, eat some food, and enjoy catching up with each other. The waiter comes with the menus and when you’re handed yours, you realize after looking through it that the items on the menu don’t really match the items that are good for your diet. Most of the items on the menu are sure to pack those pounds on quickly, especially if you miss a workout. Now, you’re sitting there, silent, trying to internally figure out what you should order when one of your friends mention that they’d love some fries. You start thinking about all the good times you and a plate of fries shared, and when your friend takes a survey between the four of you to see who will share the fries, the pressure is on. Because you know your friends, it’s a silent agreement that you all love fries but because eating fries, instead of a salad, can be seen as socially unacceptable in some circles, your friends don’t want to seem like they would enjoy devouring a plate of fries. However, you know that the socially acceptable thing to do is to join in agreement with the other three to share the order of fries so all of you can feel shameful together.
And that was just about sharing a plate of fries. The hypothetical person in that example didn’t even get to ordering the entrée because the mention of fries was made and that was a diversion of the original temptation. Point is that it is so easy to fall off the wagon when sticking to a diet and one of the biggest “triggers” is eating out with friends or family. The pressure to be like everyone else and not wanting to be the “downer” of the group because of your restrictions is very real. The thing is, you have to be ready to combat those issues when faced and that may take time but if you don’t realize that this is a big trigger that could derail your entire weight loss journey, you’ve already placed yourself in a lost battle.
So, being in control of the menu is important and very helpful during a holiday weekend because you can serve what you eat and if someone wants something different, they can provide it. I call this option “flipping the pressure“. People tend to conform to what’s being served out of respect for the host and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you haven’t yet told your family and friends that you’re taking a healthy approach in your life, this would be the greatest opportunity to have that conversation. They may wonder why the sudden change in items served and this can be the conversation starter. You may find that your friends and family are very supportive of your decision and will be willing to lend their support in any way possible, including eating the “healthy foods”.
Fourth: Go Out With A Plan. Well, you’ve thought about it and decided that spending the holiday weekend at home just isn’t as fun as you thought, or you feel like you can handle the social pressures. Great! You can lose weight and still have a social life but it’s all about priorities. Ask your buddies what the weekend plans are prior to hanging out. There’s nothing wrong with checking out menus and online reviews to see what the various places have to offer. Knowing where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing will help you plan accordingly. It’s good to know that if your friends plan to hang out at a restaurant that serves a lot of fried foods and sweets, you’ll need to find something on the menu that you can eat without doing major harm to your diet. While hanging out, you should remember what your goals are and avoid doing things to derail them. Also, you should stick to your workout schedule as much as possible. If you’re going to be hanging out a lot and you know that you’ll be around a lot of food and drinks, keep water handy. I can’t tell you how many times having a bottle of water with me has curved my temptation of ordering something I shouldn’t. It helps that I absolutely love water.
In Closing: The beginning stages of changing your diet and workout routine can be difficult. Life loves to throw rocks in the middle of the road, but you need to be able to avoid those rocks. If you can’t avoid them, learn how to deal with them. The worst feeling is losing a bunch of weight and then packing it back on because life got in the way. I get it, but you have to decide whether or not you’ll allow problems to rule your health.
As said earlier, holidays can bring up a lot of differing emotions and pressures, and it gets hard to stick to set goals. The most important thing is to recognize what you can handle and what you cannot. That way you can deal with the things you cannot handle outright instead of trying to avoid them. For some, going out during the holidays isn’t the best time for them when trying to lose weight. Their best option is to stay home and work on themselves and that’s okay. Always remember that the only person you can change is yourself. With that in mind you should be able to combat any diversions when trying to survive a holiday weekend.