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How to Set Goals For Holiday Weight Loss

There was a time in my life where I really looked forward to the holidays: the visiting, the parties, the music, and the endless buffet tables of food.   The holidays felt like my 'hall pass' from everyday life and I used to eat, man oh man, could I EAT!

Mashed potatoes covered in gravy and butter, stuffing piled high, deep-fried foods, Chinese food take out (it was a tradition for some of my family), turkey, glazed ham, cranberry sauce, baked bread rolls, Nanaimo bars, cakes, pies, tarts, meringue, Dr. Pepper, chocolate milk, juice, and alcohol! Plate after plate, heaping after heaping, and dessert after dessert!

It was never-ending, and I would eat till I felt sick.  Looking back now, I'm actually rather embarrassed about it.  

And while I enjoyed it through the whole month of holidays, I really didn't enjoy how I looked and felt as we moved into the new year: bloated, weighing an extra 5-10 lbs most times, full of acne, and in a lot of physical pain!

My fibromyalgia back then wasn't yet managed and I would be bedridden for days from the body aches and joint pain. I'd start to feel better a few weeks later, only to have my angry period show up with a vengeance from all of the gluten, dairy, and sugar I had consumed.

It really wasn't a fun way to ring in the new year!

Luckily, those symptoms would (for the most part) last a few weeks and then taper off as I assumed my more normal and healthier way of eating after the holidays. Unfortunately, what took a lot longer to get rid of was the extra weight I had put on, leaving me feeling embarrassed and ashamed, unmotivated, and struggling to 'get back into shape'. 

It got to the point where my love for the holidays turned into dread every year as I felt sicker and sicker and gained more and more weight. Over time, I gained a good 30+ lbs that left me feeling disgusted with myself emotionally and physically.  I did eventually get to a healthier weight (and mindset), but that's a story for another day!

Holiday weight loss is not the easiest thing to do, but it is definitely something that is attainable. This is something I wish I had known years ago, but it is a technique that I use now to keep myself in check.

It helps to start by setting some goals for yourself that are realistic and give you something to work toward. You will feel more accomplished when you reach the goals, which motivates you to continue with your weight loss journey.

Think About SMART

Many people like to start goal setting by remembering the SMART acronym. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Trackable. It is a way to measure each goal you are considering, such as weight loss, and make sure it fits each letter of SMART. For example, if you want to lose a certain amount of pounds by Christmas Eve, then you want to be specific with the number of pounds, make sure you can measure your progress, be sure you can achieve this amount of weight loss, as well as ensuring it is realistic, and of course track the progress.

Make Sure You Stay Accountable

Being accountable for your goals is a big part of why you set them in the first place. If you just keep your goals to yourself, it is a lot easier to lose sight of them and get lazy about them. You don’t have anyone to answer to, so nobody would know any different if you stopped working toward the goal. With weight loss, it is really important that you are held accountable because that is what helps you to keep moving forward. Start a journal with your goals so you are accountable every day and tell people about what you hope to achieve. You know they will ask questions about your progress, so this can be really good motivation for you.

Always Be Realistic With Your Goals

A big part of the SMART goals is that you are realistic, especially when you are setting goals related to weight loss. Telling yourself you will lose 20 lbs in a month before Christmas is not realistic and probably not attainable. You need to be realistic and keep in mind that the average and healthy amount of weight to lose is 1-2 pounds a week. Try not to go over this amount when setting the goals and consider your starting weight to decide which way to lean. If you don’t have a lot of weight to lose, ½ to 1 pound a week is great for weight loss.

Learn How To Eat Clean Over The Holidays

Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply avoid weight gain, the holidays can be a real struggle. So many of the parties, activities, and traditions involve food, and usually not healthy options. This makes it feel as if avoiding weight gain is completely a lost cause as you try to get through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah if that is what you celebrate. 

Luckily, hope is not lost. There are still some ways you can avoid gaining weight and even lose a few pounds during the holiday season. Follow these tips and suggestions (<--click), and remember that you don’t have to be miserable during the holidays or feel like you are being left out just because you don’t want to gain weight.

Good Luck & Happy Holidays!