Tips for Moving and Mindset
Emotional eating to make ourselves feel better when we’re sad or anxious can interfere with weight loss goals. But meditation—using techniques like muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and mindfulness—can help binge eaters become aware of how they turn to food to deal with emotions. This is especially important at parties where there’s a ton of food on display.
2. Set realistic goals.
Come New Year’s resolution season, it’s easy to set lofty goals about weight loss (i.e. drop three dress sizes by February!). Since impractical targets can slow down long-term weight-loss, it’s important to address those goals before making any health and fitness changes. Write down your goals—keep them specific and attainable—and post them somewhere highly visible, like the refrigerator door. If your goal is “stick to two cookies at every holiday party” seeing it periodically may help you commit.
3. Stay positive.
Many of us demonize certain foods and even punish ourselves for indulgences. Instead, positive messages like “I can control my eating” or “I’m proud that I ate responsibly today” can reframe our relationship with food. Research shows positive expectations are associated with weight loss. Even if it feels a little silly, try telling yourself at least one positive affirmation per day.
The holiday season is full of cheer, but it can also be stressful keeping up with family get-togethers and paying for all those gifts. Unfortunately, a lot of stress can trigger increased eating and cravings, especially for sugary carbohydrates. If family time (or being away from family during the holidays) has you feeling overwhelmed, try out one of these ways to reduce stress before downing hot chocolate and cookies.
5. Let go of limitations.
No, we’re not talking about unbuttoning your pants at the dinner table. Before hitting up holiday parties, remember that a good workout isn’t limited to a gym or the track. It’s easy to use your bodyweight—even in small spaces—to work up a sweat.
6. Get functional.
Functional exercise has been shown to increase strength and balance and reduce risk of injury, all while working multiple muscle groups at the same time. It also means you can squeeze in an effective mid-Christmas-movie-marathon workout in a shorter amount of time. All that movement promotes muscle gain, and over time, that can increase metabolism.
7. Sleep smart.
Though there’s likely no stopping the urge to wake up early on Christmas morning, getting enough sleep can help shave off some pounds, since sleep loss is linked to changes in appetite. Getting enough sleep has also been associated with less weight gain. Practice good sleep hygiene, like turning off electronics in the bedroom and avoiding high-fat foods at night.
8. Partner up.
Research suggests we perform better on aerobic tasks like running and cycling when exercising with a partner. If you’re home for the holidays, call up a friend or family member for a gym date or a home workout with our favorite partner exercises, including medicine ball lunge-to-chest passes, and clapping push-ups.
9. Move it and lose it.
A simple phrase for losing weight is to move more and eat less. The secret here—like we said before—is that moving doesn’t just mean hitting the track or going to the gym. Make a conscious decision to get more steps into the day by taking the stairs or parking the car far away from the grocery store entrance. Before curling up around the fire, round up family members for a walk or a dance session.
Helpful Holiday Hints
Tips for Moving and Mindset